at the markets

the apples, it turns out, taste like a ride on a donkey cart

sitting on straw up amid the sun and motorboy dragonflies

must’ve been grown by the scarecrow himself

some of those particular flea market stalls I’m expecting to see

at the Flea Market at the End of Time

‘cause those stallholders today had trawled their nets through our childhoods

we knew it, and we swooned, and they knew it

and they grinned back

so come the End of Time we’ll run these market rows

clutching glow-in-the-dark plastic skulls

full o’ bird-thin fruit tingle bones

and slabs of Marvel Fanfare comics

that dry sweet old drag girl with gimcrack antiques strung on hessian

in her orange hide and sunglasses

a jangling swamp crane greeting you in this sunlight, like I knew she would

the Mister Whippy man who ate miles of land and leagues of sea

on those Romany tides, just to pound up the same excellent snowy heap

as was first ever imparted from this same pink & white hut-van

the bookstall woman is somewhat malevolent

but has crawled under all the beds of a dozen towns

among the fossilized condoms and abandoned cobwebs

has found a ton of books that look worth reading

grandad with metal green tattoos on his hands and

hearing aids like Bakelite headphones:

swarthy Welsh – a services man – he rolls a bottled ship

goes onwards like an orang-utan after his Welsh wife and grandson

a Mr T moneybox bust sits like an Egyptian thing

and that incense I picked up, in the packet with the flowers like bindis

subtle on an ebony background just like a shawl, well

I’ve been burning some, it smells like amber medicine

mixed with boiled barley sugar

the sunshine configures you like a leadlight gypsy on a red lampshade

a rarity, detailed on magma glassworks

such as can only be found at a flea market


Will Swan


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