He sent himself out with a flask
of tea and a jam piece—two slices of Sunblest, butter
and blackcurrant—wrapped in crinkled foil
slotting neatly into the Tupperware.

But the thing was—when it was anything—
a war was on, and no argument was allowed to fester.
So not being one to retreat, never the peacemaker
and not to be incriminated,

he kept his piece, a handgun,
buried down the back of a back garden, a good deep garden
not that far away. Like Billy Bones, all well and good,
until across the table a contretemps ensued—

over politics inevitably—
and he dragged himself out, piece by piece, to get
the aforesaid weapon to teach a lesson, for he had pride
and a name and would not rest

until he did some harm; to cut to the chase,
his sidearm. So, while a malapertness of bombs disturbed
the peace, we follow him to the wooden fence
and the ungainly getting-over,

though it might have been the next fence,
or the next, and so on down the line, piecemeal, where
we must leave him exhausted like ourselves for twenty,
maybe thirty years, still unable to recall

if it was this garden or that,
digging uncomprehendingly with his heel and toecap,
then his hands, grave after grave after grave like a dog
after a piece of bone, his pride and joy,

all the time looking lost
and knowing no peace from our laughter at the best story
to come out of the bundle of troubles we can’t lose
and will never leave behind.