The Art of the Handkerchief

Whenever Sebastian Locke blows his nose,
he is reminded of Professor Mouchoir’s

lectures on the pier. How the eminent gent
discussed dribbles and stains; gale force

sneezes; the insouciant manner with which
the Amazing Baldini whipped a red silk

handkerchief off his gold-ringed fingers
to reveal a dove startled by the footlights.

How he contrasted the sublime and cor blimey:
the cream pocket square drooping like a lily

with the knotted hanky as seen on the sands.
How he ended his talk with the drying of eyes:

the volume of water that could easily fill
the Great Lakes of the Northern Americas.

The salt pyramids stretching across time.
Sadness. The incalculable sadness of it all.


Michael Bayley