After Alfie died
They stuffed me in a shoebox with
The tie clips, the cufflinks, and all those combs he kept
For all those years, for reasons never made clear to me.
A few relatives came and went through everything.
A cousin made off with his coffee spoons; a nephew
Took his toaster and tea cups; some lonely-looking woman,
Her hair in a bun, carried away his autographed copy of
Cakes and Ale.
And indeed his same kin found it worthwhile, after all,
To settle me here—underpriced and underrated—a relic of
Some obscene suburban jumble sale,
To perch me upon a top hat between his pipe collection
And the rag the moths made of his morning coat.
To add me to the realm of ‘trams and dusty trees’.
This is NOT, I presume, where he’d wish me to be.
Privy, as I was, to his deepest secrets.
The women, and the mermaids—I heard it all.
Confused, though, he was, from time to time . . .
I still like to think I understood him.
Oh, let us dispense with a tedious argument:
Lest you lot forget: we shared the same bed.