Talkin’ to Noah 
By Bill Allerton

Tryin’ hard not to open me Butterkist,
I peeked out through t’ slit of me dad’s poachers pocket,

and listened…….

“ Evenin’ Charlie.”
“ Aye, Ted.”
“ Rain again. ”
“ Aye. ”
“ An’ all last week.”
“ Aye. ”
“ And t’ next, I suppose.”
 
From under the coat my dad’s voice rumbled
like thunder in his stomach
it were like listening to God….. talking to Noah.

Charlie’d touch the brim of his green felt hat.
Flick the gold bits on his shoulders.
Stand up on t’ step like t’ soldiers on Poppy Day
putting flowers out for t’pigeons in Barkers Pool.

Then he’d look at me mam’s legs.
He were on’y short.
So were me mam
But she wore these tall heels
that did funny things to her legs
 
It made Charlie smile
every time he looked at ‘em
 
“ Good picture, Charlie? ” me dad says
“ Never see ‘em all ‘t way through, Ted”
“ Never? ”
“ Aye…never.  On’y t’middle bits.”

“ What if tha not workin’ Charlie?”
“ Does tha go to work on thi day off,  Ted? ”

I couldn’t reckon that.
If I were big enough to go to work
I’d want to be there all t’ time
And me Butterkist were stuck together.
So I bashed it on me dad’s knee

“ Good…. crowd. ” he said,
Charlie smiled.
“ Aye!….. But thi wain’t all gerr in.”
 
He walked up and down t’edge of t’queue.
Tapping ankles with his foot.
Trimmin’ us away from t’cause’y edge.
Then came back.

I were hiding.
Me dad knew t’ Commissionaire.
I didn’t know how to handle that.

We moved forward, and
I could ‘ear him counting
under ‘is breath.
Then ‘is arm ‘d swing down
 
An’ suddenly everybody’s sayin’
“ Hey! I wor wi ‘er!”
“ Aye..he’s wi me.”
“ I’m not goin’ in wi’out ‘er.”

An’ he’d part ‘em like Moses at the red sea.
An’ carry on countin’

Then  he’d let ‘em go.
Chunterin’ an’ shufflin’.
Not darin’ to look back.
An’ he’d be countin’
An’ me stood on t’ tops
of me dad’s best shoes
Tryin’ to save some Butterkist
For inside.

An’ ‘is arm ‘d swing down again.
Behind us.
An’ he’d wink at me
Because me dad knew t’ Commissionaire
 
An’ me mam ‘ad nice legs.