Everybody called him Willie
it wasn’t his birth name.
He wasn’t William either
although it might have been third of
a trio proceeding his surname.
The first being
Arthur, or Bartholomew, or something like that
after his father, grandfather, grandfather and great-great-grandfather –
the burden of the firstborn.
He was unaffected by heritage
no silver spoon or affectation.
People liked him
and he liked people.
Picked up a few acres after
one of the rich old relatives kicked the bucket
loved anything that grew – planted everything –
melons, squash, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes
and something for himself.
Decided to go abroad for a while
broaden his horizons
washed up in London needing a job –
passed himself off as a town planner.
When told no or met with a quizzical look
he would reply,
that’s how we do it in New Zealand. Got away with it for 12 months
then came back home to growing things.
Witty, funny and generous
good company, very good company
we all liked him
and nobody liked to be an informer –
besides she must’ve known
couldn’t not have
this was the face that launched a thousand trysts.
At home husband-and-wife singular
away from home willing, eager available: plural. And then some.
High salaried job in the Third World
remote, hard, isolated but sensationally paid.
She encouraged him
the money unbelievable
three – five years … then retirement.
on the day he returned she filed for divorce –
taking him to the cleaners.
“ Could I see…?
That’s me sweetie
manager, owner, tea maker,
do you want a coffee sweetie?”
She called me sweetie
without flirt or flint.
Fffff she began and clamped …
scattering the pages of work history.
“ You don’t mind do you ”– then lit up
too bad if I did,
smoke-free yet to be invented.
“ Sweetie, a CV isn’t a CV
it’s a sales pitch
show me the advertisement
and I’ll show them you’re what they want.
Don’t worry sweetie you’ve come to the right place
I used to work in HR
now I get to create the lies, not read them.”