The Lowry Lounge

for Bryan Biggs at 60

Robert Sheppard

The Consul shuffles passports on the bar tabletop,
beer-mat blotters, varnish thick enough to coat
Irish Sea decks. Shutters slam as wind rises
across the dunes, the gull-tormented sand. His
Manx legs spin, as he stumbles, after sinking Okells,
wooden piers rotting into the empty river. A humped
wisp on the skyline whips up volcanian cloud.
mouths of empty bottles whisper on the doorstep:
a tug pulls a ghost ship into Birkenhead. Once
outside, the Consul brushes smuts from his starched
flannels; inside, the barman with the skeleton grin
tweezers nobody’s sodden visa into the rubbish.


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