J Sean Rafferty, Scrap Man

Scrap Man

In the corner of every bar
he is there. Put together
with objects picked up
along the way. He’s held together
precariously by rusty nails, fishing wire
and luck. Not to say he feels lucky.
This looming pile of junk who
was human once has lived
too long on replacement parts.

What was once a strong spine
was substituted for a broom handle
and the legs in those patchwork trousers
are fire pokers and curtain poles.
In a bucket handle jaw
are toothpick teeth that impale
spatulafuls of bar nuts
while a rook finger beckons the
barman closer to hear the
wheezing noise from those
accordion lungs.

He nods in understanding
and returns with the usual
order for the man made of scrap.

Yellow sludge to blacken and sog
those pizza box innards that
swing from hanger ribs.
A makeshift torso held
in place by chicken wire skin,
cloaked under a coat of slate
and dirty, mothballed newspapers;
hunched over an empty glass.
It would be hulking if there were
any substance in those organs.

Those mournful tealight eyes
melt into the glass,
The accordion lungs squeeze
out a song they used
to know the words to.

Everyone ignores the wretched
lost and found in the corner.
No one knows the depths and
sorrows of that wristwatch heart.
No one ever asked.

J Sean Rafferty is a redhead, a godfather, and an eejit. He is an MA English Lit student at Ulster University and his work has previously been featured in Gravitas, Sage Cigarettes, Capsule Stories, The Wellington Review, and The Alcala Review. When not losing games of pool he sometimes writes stuff.

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