Eric, the Cactus

Delivered to us by an optimistic gentleman in a black Stetson cap
who spent his days waving village traffic down with an open hand,
it’s been four years since you were sat on the bookshelf in Kath’s house.

You stood proud, surveying the fine china made across the border
wrapped up in donated newspaper articles and pristine hand-me-downs,
while my inky fingers welcomed regulars who only ever looked around.

Each weekend we were greeted by bright smiles set in permanent shadow.
Sometimes I declined banknotes on the street for carrying dismantled tables.
I’m still searching for namesakes when perched on local stones above sea level.

Friends like Elvis were divisive figures due to their signature tobacco smells.
Under a green bus shelter, I laughed at his frown about a Midlands town.
Thinking about the rows of vacant church seats still leaves me cold

even now. As I watch needles drop onto rocks and a solitary shell,
your frame shrivels daily and bends you crooked like a question mark.
Oh, Eric… will I ever meet your father again to discuss your burial?

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