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This poem is taken from PN Review 112, Volume 23 Number 2, November - December 1996.

On the Bench Andrew Waterman


'You've a wee boy?' He'd sat down reeking by me
On the Ealing Common bench. I closed the sports page.
His bottle was cream sherry, the hand missing
Thumb and forefinger. 'Yes, as a matter of fact.'
'Would he like this?' He rummaged in clothes needing
A blowlamp to get off, then conjured forth
A white rabbit, the meagrest, grubbiest ever,
And bobbed and wagged it. 'Yours for just two poond.'
'Thanks, but,' I lied, 'he's too old for soft toys.'
And dropped my gaze back to my paper, half
Too solicitous, half too nervous, to walk off.
Where was I from? 'From Ireland.' 'I'm half Irish,
My father's from a town called Tandragee,
Which means in the Irish, "Arse to the wind".
Although the County Armagh, so I am told,
...


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