He unloads the brushes, hose, cloths, bucket,
lifts the pole to the topmost panes,
head tipped, mouth agape, the water rises and cascades.
He used to bring eggs; an empty box, a coin
exchanged for half a dozen freshly laid,
but not since his wife changed the locks.
He rings the bell, shines the glass in the door,
waits for the shadow he’s seen in the hall.
He misses his clothes, his good leather coat
that she cut and left like a half-flayed corpse;
the angled arms, the dents of his elbows. No eggs,
no hens: ‘disposed of’, the solicitor says.
He winds the hose round the reel.
The end trails a stream.
Maria C McCarthy’s poetry collection, strange fruits, and a collection of stories, As Long as it Takes, are published by Cultured Llama. She writes in a shed at the end of her garden in a village in north Kent. www.medwaymaria.co.uk