Bill Nighy
by Peter Carpenter

                gets on at Chislehurst, not fazed a jot
by half-drunk flat whites, the rustle of Metros,
smart-phone ring-tones. Knee-length Crombie,
gingham button-down Ben Sherman, designer
cheekbones. Cool, insouciant. ‘Hi there,’ he intones,
chin down. Hither Green, that recycling centre
by the New Den. Hair like straw, nose into
by an orange-spined Penguin. Emma. Chatting now
by across a fold-up bike with the skinny hipster – ‘Miss Bates…
You haven’t heard about the row on Box Hill?…
                                        You haven’t lived, man.’
Signals on red outside London Bridge.
                                          Now Bill’s a scarecrow
conductor at the Proms. ‘You don’t know
by Vera Lynn? Man, you haven’t lived…’ Across the Thames.
The hiss of automatic doors.
                                           There’ll be bluebirds over
the white cliffs of Dover. The whole bloody carriage.
Bill is gleaming, cheeks pipped with two scarlet buds.

from Tintoretto’s Angels (Mariscat Press: 2022)