There’s a man who lives across the alley
pops his head out of his patio doors
at regular intervals throughout the day
every day of the week
he’s an older gent, maybe eighty years of age
I call him the cuckoo man
because he’s like clockwork
for his timely appearances at those doors
is to finish up the ends of his cigarettes
and put them out on the concrete slabs outside.
in the summer
I hear him coughing up a lung
or sighing to himself or both
now and then
the occasional cold cigarette butt
is taken by the breeze
and rolls under his gate
across the alley, under our fence
and into our backyard.
I pick them up and throw them into the litter
he must burn through forty a day.
I guess he’s lonely, miserable
What do I know?
cuckoo man is a stranger to me
the only communication we’ve ever had
is in those cigarette butts
blown under the fence
leaving via the rubbish truck
of a Thursday afternoon.