The Tatter Man
A sinister rag and bone man who used to prey onthe elderly in the early 80s
The Tatter Man
The ad was an anagram
a notice of Death
that let the sentence hang
like a dying breath…
above grim Charon’s raft
a hand-stitched Christ-like saw
sewn in crucifying thread
trailing bloodstains on the floor.
begging, praying, commanding:
honour thy this
and honour thy that
from Genesis to Exodus
and back again –
each pendulum swing
Faith squeezed her hourglass waist
but the sand still trickled through
till her penny-weighted eyelids
paid the ferry-man his due…
dog days drowned her dresser
china clowns in frozen mime
photographs and sepia ghosts
of her binding, biding time.
The ad brings forth the tatter-man
when the last cold tear has dried
who frightens you with the flicker
of his candle-burning eyes…
you see long fingers clicking
on her frosted front door glass
you hear death-watch beetles ticking
in his rapid rat-tat-tats…
begging, preying, seducing:
his card is damp with nervous sweat
he talks small-talk about the weather
his tongue unrolls his best offer yet
in the primal screech of monkey-notes
his clothes stink, reek of vulture feathers
as the word ‘no’
Styx in his throat.
I don’t think I like that man very much. I really enjoyed the cleverly written lines, and strong atmospheric images it conveyed though. Sue.
Thanks Sue… persisitent ghouls are everywhere. In Cardiff we are advised not to put in obituary notices where we are having food and dinks after the funaral as people turn up in black for the free food and drink!
came, and read. thanks
Thanks. old friend. Appreciated.