We knew him as Cot

Remember those lanes he walked after work,

past the weed-wormed car park

at the rusting colliery to the two-street

village, to catch the bookies

or straight into the Oak.

His days governed by dim light:

in boiler houses or the single bulb rooms

of boarded-up terraces – jobs no one

wanted never fazed him.


The same fanged grin at a rumour

his horse had come in, tipping me

for putting his bets on; the whiff

of piss even turps couldn’t disguise.

No family, nor home, some nights

sneaking back to the job to doss.

He was found on the edge of a field,

crushing those tiny blue flowers

I still don’t know the name of.