A tiny gentleman with fiddling legs
and dim, fathomless eyes of a newt:
this was Albert, and he knew it.
He rubbed his palms before a brazierful
of burning toupees and said nothing,
melting marshmallows on the end of a coathanger,
sometimes offering his neighbour
a swig from a brown glass bottle
wrapped in newspaper.
Once, he said: 'Where do the ladybirds go?'
and another time: 'Another answer, please.
Another answer,' talking to the flames perhaps,
or the bottle, or his twitching right hand.