I found the guy who inspired your famous poem,
asked him to remove his shades so that I too might bathe
in his “flooded showrooms” but he must get that all the time.
He picked up pace as I tracked him through town.
The damp on his back evoked “the shadow of the A bomb”
but smaller in real life. Disappointment is also an epiphany,
I reassured him. He seemed uncertain but took off his bins,
fixed me with his prize-winners. Only polite to open
Happy now? he asked, with intonation not worth recording.
A lesser poet might have lost hope. But his sleek hair
had grown since you two met and I watched him tie it up.
Jackpot. You can call it beginner’s luck. His top knot struck oil.
Joe Dunthorne is the author of two novels, Submarine and Wild Abandon. A collection of his poems was published in the Faber New Poets series in 2010.