Where did they flee to? Who wrote off their debts

when, scuttled back into a gas mantled past,

they left just this pair of foxed silhouettes

inlaid to the depths of the shadows they cast?

Their off-cuts, spiralled and coiled to the floor,

were the shirts off their backs they left behind

for the brilliantined thief and the red-headed whore

who gave them the pox and robbed them both blind.


Brought out for the hanging, downlit, strung along

with woodcuts and etchings from last season’s sale,

mocked by a stag’s head knocked down for a song

they pose cock-a-hoop on a gold picture rail,

price-tagged in guineas, cockeyed with surprise,

sporting sold stickers, all set for their spree,

two roués quick scissorwork snipped and excised

now fallen among the haute bourgeoisie.