Little Bellows

Looks rough, feels smooth. What a promise. Hands dry as the day I was made rest on a wide window sill, the cream of fifties vacuum cleaner adverts, the middle finger moving but half a centimeter back and forth in a kind of stroking movement. What he might call a stroke anyway. God bless those he lays his affections on.

Rough but smooth, he tempts, or likes to think he tempts, the short and skinny, forlorn little women who come round here. Old dogs will try their hands at any pale tricks the wind blows into their garden.

In a stack of old and rough he keeps me wedged between jaundiced books and warping wood, paying no heed to the aches of his things. He tells us how much we matter, his eyes speak the cruel chapters he daren’t say out loud in case anyone heard through the fading, muddy walls.

‘If I have to sit in this, why shouldn’t you.’

There was no question, though we are ready with answers.

My dirty burgundy middle and tragicomic, pathetic size are no excuse for being strapped up and taunted by midges and carpet lice and whatever other were-beings float in the air between me and the fairyland outside.

Figures move about, fetch things, hover, fiddle, leave. Some are clever enough to make a wide berth of the house. The older ones even have responses to his dirty promises.

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