Lydia's mother
opened the door
of the flat
after I had knocked


and gave me
a stern stare
is Lydia coming out?
I asked


she looked hard
at me
to the herbalist


get some sarsaparilla
I said
she said


yes it's good for you
they say
makes blood
I said


she looked
at my scuffed shoes
and blue jeans
and the gun and holster


from the snake head
elastic belt
around my waist


I suppose she can
her mother said
she bellowed


windows rattled
a dog
across the Square


the milkman's horse
lifted its head
from the nosebag
Lydia came to the door


and poked her head
out from under
her mother's arm
Benedict here


wants to take you
to get a sarsaparilla
Lydia looked at you
her eyes narrowing


then widening
she said
can I go?


she asked
course if I say so
as long
as you are wrapped warmer


than you are now
her mother said
Lydia rushed back inside
and her mother


took a long drag
of a cigarette
her yellowing fingers
in a V shape


what's your father
do for a living?
she asked
the smoke carrying


her words to me
he's a metal worker
I said
he makes things


from metal
she stared at me
a few loose hairs
had escaped


the flowery scarf
about her head
I think
he frequents whores


she said
I see
I said


what she was saying
she inhaled
on the cigarette again
her eyes


gazing beyond me
keep Lydia out
a fair while
she said


pushing out smoke
I want to rest
my eyes a while


I said
she went indoors
and I waited for Lydia
sniffing in the smoke


hanging about
the doorstep
the dog barked again
the horse ate


from the nosebag
the milkman whistled
a few notes
from some tune


I sniffed the smoke again
hoping Lydia
would be out
wrapped warm soon.

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