Hard-hat of the road he stands
indifferent to the sparkle of a passer-by.
Like an oily fruit, jammed fast in
Victorian incrassate boots, his rake
pulls him this way and that, frolics
in the black, guides him along the
steamy lido of his dreams. A call
will go up at any time, most likely
from Mr Quinoline, boiling the tar.
He summons Adam at twelve thirty sharp
and they down tools together, wade
with great ceremony along their hot, sticky
bed to The George for a pint and crib.
Each night his wife lays a paper-trail to
the bath, scrubs his arms, ignores
his rough throat. Mumbling in his sleep
she tries to catch words before smack
go the lips, he turns, and tastes the road.