Sure he smoked, but it was the asbestos
that killed him. The men in suits came
to remind us that back then the stuff
was in everything and not to even think
about pinning it on them.
We had him cremated, he went the way
of the coal he’d spent most of his life
digging for. Funny to think the only
things that didn’t burn were those fibres
in his lungs that had killed him.
Richie McCaffery was born in Newcastle in 1986 and now lives in Ghent He is the recipient of a Carnegie scholarship as well as the recipient of an Arts Trust of Scotland ‘Edwin Morgan travel bursary’ and a Hawthornden fellowship. HappenStance Press published his first collection Spinning Plates, in 2012, his most recent collection Cairn is from Nine Arches Press. His poems have also been anthologised in Todd Swift’s Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam and Salt’s Best British Poetry 2012, edited by Sasha Dugdale.