el toro

el toro*

the el toro
coffee lounge
run by a bull
of a man behind
the counter
never occurred
to me even once
how right the
name a poster
of a bull-fight
inside the heavy
door meat pies
and chowmein
a bull
of a man who
talked and laughed
with an impatient
nod of the head
a son of migrants
brought up tough
in the canterbury cold
first of his people’s
kids to pull on a
first-fifteen* jersey
went back to
the old country
for a village bride
ran that business
till age ran up
the debts on his
body, packed it
in & just put out
to pasture was
felled by sickness
i visited once
that land he never
made it back to
again burnt incense
at a bustling shrine
in a fall of sunlight
in his honour
the painted wood
shouldering sweeps
of gable
those people of
slipping off shoes
on the granite step
to kneel were
his honour.

10 – 12 feburary, 2014

*spanish for ‘the bull’

*top school or local area rugby team

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