They stand on the pavement
Up before everyone, larks and all,
they stroll down the road ever slower
struggling not to beat the first bus from the depot
and failing because they must get out.
Today they are too early
Unlocking a grill-protected door
paint-flaked from too many winters,
Ray nods with a yawn
acknowledging their vigil,
silent knights, avoiding eye contact,
as if hiding ancient secrets from each other.
Inside, on the counter,
‘The Mail’, two copies of ‘The Sun’,
one ‘Telegraph’ ready and waiting –
and a space where there used to lay an ‘Express’
until old Bob left them.
what might pass for a rush is over.
Ray returns to his tea.
Nodding farewell to each other,
the Mail, the Suns and the Telegraph
make their separate ways
back to the echo of empty houses
on the edge of the estate;
off to begin their day of memories
Tomorrow they will beat the alarm again
– please God –
and shuffle down the road
for the newspaper that signals
another day survived.