We're not friends. He's my brother, really.
I see him outside every week, outside Aldi,
huddled among the trolleys, slumped outside
the glass. A single pane separates him from
non-brand jars of bloody jam, peanut butter
and chocolate spread.
He lifts his head, mouth drops open, black and soulless
like a ventriloquist's dummy with no knee.
His head rolls, falls.
Sightless eyes stare
at the wheels of the trolleys.
I fumble with the token. No coin.
I buy him pork pies, worth less than the token
for the trolley, place them on his knee, not in his hand,
and I tell him I hope he stays
warm and I know how stupid it sounds and
when he looks up at me, thanks real and
warm, I know how stupid I am.
I meet his eyes and there’s something mixed with
the warmth, something other than eyes above
rotting teeth, but I can’t see it. I stare instead
at the pies on his knee and fumble with the
trolley and fumble with my key and mumble
again about warmth as if my words were
great white blankets and I were