Saturday, 2 October 2010

Rod's Gaff

He told me,
with a weary smile,
that it was on the fourth floor
above a baker's.
A 're-ti-reh', he said,
which translates as 'penthouse'.

We walked, hunched in our coats
against the Vardaris
blowing ice
all the way down from Russia.

I knew we'd arrived -
I could smell the bread.
We climbed the dank stairs,
me counting the floors.
Then a heavy door,
which Rod pushed open with his shoulder.

We emerged onto the roof of the building.

I thought he was having me on.

The penthouse,
the 're-ti-reh',
took up all of one corner,
past piles of second hand bricks
and stacks of Yester Year's tyres.
The walls of Rod's gaff were flimsy sheets of tin, and glass;
his roof was flaps of corrugated rust.

Rod had his key in his hand.
he said,
with Vardaris tears in his eyes.
In storms,
like today,
the rattle is deafening.

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