Benefit Cheque

the war came
back from
the far country
a world and a
half away
as a man
as a bayonet
antique
bit of hardware
thought we’d
stopped that
who slipped
a well-rifled
barrel
past his teeth
onto his
tongue
metallic
and a bit bitter
rarely fired
and fired
no-one was surprised
except at the
pop of it
a room and a
half away
not his mother
who had had
she thought
hidden it well
or his wife
a town and a
half away
tangled in
bed-sheets
or the bureaucrat
who came to collect
what remains
not smeared into
the carpet
the mirror
the wallpaper
not lapped
up by the cat
who
benefit cheque
or no benefit cheque
must be
fed