'They should never have knocked it down,'
he'd say. The Overhead
ran from the docks down-town
out past the Pier Head.
Back then: dock gates, guards,
corner pubs, damaged cargo trade.
Now: Stand-alone pub. Men playing cards.
Talking blue and red. Pause
between hands and words
as I come in. Side door.
'All rice mace?'
What can I do yew for?'
Talk and crib restarts - a spate
of noise. 'Brown and bitter.'
Purples and yellows from stained lead-lights
glow in reflection
as I hold up the glass.
'May as well drink it - won't get any better.'
It's a priest, fresh from Mass,
solid as stout in his working gear,
raising a Guinness. 'Cheers.' 'God bless.'
The silence tastes of stale beer,
smoke. 'My father's dead.
He would often have drunk round here.
He used the Overhead.'
Another generous half, a bottle of brown,
a pint for the father, who shook his head:
'They should never have knocked it down.'
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