The gardener came with a warning
passed by corridor telegraph
don’t get caught alone with.
Talk and talk and talk
until captive ears escaped.
I wondered if he ever noticed
how swiftly a third-party needed his audience – “now.”
Occasionally he got lucky
collusion refusing to rescue
coffee time preferring amusement to valour
or a desperate smoker unable resist any longer
stepped outside and was sandbagged by monolog.
He could find a listener
like mosquitos a vein – and flies faeces.
Still he did a good job humanizing the industrial stark
and it must have been lonely
with only the silence of roses, rhododendrons, rows of flowers
and droning backchat of lawnmower
and he was endearing
in a bedraggled kind of way
always in need of a haircut and new teeth.
I would have found his individuality charming
except a refusal to comply
annoyance frustrated one time too many – to anger
pointed at the sign
hissing, “ can’t you…….”
And then realized