Shadwell Smith





Mr Davis kept tropical fish
and a tidy garden
front and back.
It’s as good as fertilizer that
he said,
throwing his urine from a bucket
on the lawn.

He rolled grizzled Rizlas
with the fingers of one hand.
Showed me places on a map
where he got his tattoos.
Talked over glasses
of lemonade
and navy days spent
fighting Germans
and the Japs.
Mr Davis had won medals.

His daughter had moved
to New Zealand;
sent letters, postcards
and colourful paua shells
he displayed
around the house.

Mr Davis spoke
and sang to his wife,
though she’d left him
a widower
with the tick of the clock;
watching the glimmer of fish
in a luminous tank.
All at sea.
and thoughts



Shadwell Smith’s poems have most recently appeared in Butcher’s Dog, Prole and Picaroon Poetry. He also sometimes appears in pubs, clubs and coffee shops performing them.

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