I’m wary of St. Vincent de Paul men
who call and say,
Are you alright for fuel mister?

I always say yes,
even though
I’m raking three bits of coal
with the tongs.

They say, are you warm?
I say, I’m warm.
They say, keep warm.
I say, feck off.

They think I’ve lost it.

I sit by the fire;
dream of Norma Jean.
If she happens to visit,
I’ll rekindle the cinders.
There may be snow on the roof
but there’s still embers
in the hearth.

So when they say,
Are you alright for fuel mister?
I never let on
I’m burning with deprivation.
They call it hypothermia.
I call it night starvation.