Jeff’s got himself a watch. White-bearded,
shuffling, he’s hooped it on his sleeve,
four dials on display. One marks the hours
in Sheffield, where men call each other duck,
think they’ll bob up whenever they go down.
Another tells the time in Israel: like ancient
mapmakers, Jeff’s world spins on Jerusalem.
The third’s a might-be-useful stopwatch; the fourth
a compass. He knows his north,
brews Sunday coffees for his homeless pals.
He bought his timepiece from a street stall,
cheap as chips and no more made to last.
Clock Jeff instead: he doesn’t wheel and deal,
won’t waste a word, is regular
as mates, as homelessness, as love.
Julian Dobson lives in Sheffield, home of the famous Henderson’s Relish. His poems have appeared in publications including Brittle Star, The Interpreters’ House, Acumen, and on a bus in Guernsey. More of his work is here.