Ball-bearings, silver, tilted in
his lidless gold tobacco tin
tip out and strike the garage
floorlike props dropped by a conjuror
who scrabbles for them in the dark
blackthreaded by the scent of bark
to feel, in earth caked on a spade,
the soul his careless ghost mislaid
slip through cold hands that disinter
the winter bulbs he left for her,
while cobwebs, hung on filthy glass,
cling to him when she brushes past,
count off in beads of autumn rain
full moons as they roll round again
and tremble with her breathing in
the stir of dust shed by his skin.

This time he’s back to rattle locks,
knock spanners in their steel toolbox,
wear shadow as a widow’s peak
to play dusk’s game of hide-and-seek
with spirit level, bob and line,
evaporations, turpentine
on rag torn from a summer dress
she comes tonight to repossess,
shook out with rust and moth to wipe
his monkey wrench and copper pipe
and dust enough to shoo him in
the shine inside his empty tin.