Sweet Milk Of

for Agnès

Mistress of the only dépanneur
in the neighbourhood

you might have opened your knees
for the man who stopped for a treat

mummy’s sharp eye winking yes
from an antique frame over the cash.

You could’ve lifted your skirt
in the back room.

You might’ve been the one
for him, you might’ve been

if only you’d worn the years more
to your advantage,

ripe breasts inside your apron
full of kindness, sweet milk of

for a gentleman who licks ice cream
and craves love.

But you grew too fat, didn’t you?
stockings rolled, thick ankles, ringlets

uncurled to straw, not even your shadow
fit into the rat-hole

because you kept on eating
those Honeymoons.

And now rose-light lady
blousy in the late of an open door

your street lies a-dust with all
that echoes decades down.