The day grew warm and dull,
Dew dried on leaves, cars
came then went,
An acrid smell of petrol steeped the air.
flipperty girl was in a wicked mood,
A woman spurned -- the master
gunner hadn't showed;
All men were bastards, she declared
dropped a coffee cup in spite. Stumpy didn't move.
Hunched in a corner, obsessed with signs and portents,
ifs and whats and buts,
Tore fragments from a paper napkin unaware;
A ragged field of mauve confetti blossomed with his doubts.
old man's fallen off his bike, croaked Mrs Winchcock
to the girl. She bought a pint of milk there every day
to be the younger Stumpy's flame from long ago.
…to be continued
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