Someone told me, the man across the way in our avenue,
who wears shopping bags on his feet, also works in a meat factory.
But this is strange, as he’s told me he is a vegetarian.
On Tuesday I followed him around Aldi. He wore a leather coat,
like the skin on a baked potato, his hair was fish oil, and his feet
rustled inside the bags he wore.
In his trolley, he had dumped bananas, oranges, steak, burgers,
haddock, cheese, meatballs with chillies, full-fat milk, dark chocolate,
and sixteen eggs.
The jeans he wore were too tight for the lamp posts outside. He spoke
to the odd person, when I say odd, I mean the person who was dressed
as a dog, but I do know, only owned a cat.
When we got to the tills I frowned at the frozen meat he had sneaked
in on his way around. He left with skaters-feet, spun in the car park,
then flung his food into his maroon coloured car.
I jumped in my van and followed him up the road. He stopped outside
his house.I sat watching as he put the bags in the hallway,
before tapping the neighbours cat on the head.
When I told the wife, she shook her head. The man is indeed a vegetarian,
she said, but only on a weekend.
THEY GO TO LIDL EVERY SATURDAY AFTERNOON
They rode a unicycle to Lidl on a weekend afternoon.
He wore a flat cap upside down, and she wore a teapot cosy.
Drivers waited for them to go around the roundabout
as their feet pedalled like hamster’s late for dinner.
They had a trolley each, one for meat and veg, the other
for dairy products, tins, and bread. Though never alcohol.
The husband had his gallbladder out so stopped drinking,
his wife had her appendix removed and agreed with him.
They didn’t miss drunken arguments over who’s turn it is to paint
the kitchen. Neither smoked, nor watched blue movies with coffee.
He worked for the council churchyards, had a tendency
to whistle ‘Is this the way to Amarillo’ when a funeral took place.
She retired early after winning the lotto. He never received a penny.
He stood with the look of a man who’s noticed his fly is undone
as they filled their bags outside with swear words and Christian Hymns.
The unicycle struggled to turn the corner and they went head first
into the Vicars conifers. When the police came they blamed each other.
He said it was her fault as she bought too much milk.
But the policeman agreed with her when he saw the husband
had bought a King size Pot Noodle.
Gareth lives in Wales. He has two collections by FutureCycle called The Miner & A Bard's View. He is a current student of Manchester Met. Twitter: @culshawpoetry1