Wallets

by Tom Warner

When I consider the history of wallets
I picture men with moustaches and rigid hats,
the kind that knew the weight of money
and every week would count a modest sum
for pins and bits and bobs into a waiting palm.
Those men have tipped their hats
and climbed aboard their steaming trains
or simply scurried out of shot.

Some wallets have a window for a picture
of a wife or child (behind which one might slip
a number written in eye pencil),
and some wallets are laid like a gun
on the bedside table of a one-night-stand.

The first I owned was Genuine Leather
and smelled of the indoor market
where my mum bought the veg from loud men
with money bags who winked and called her duck.
That first one took some getting used to;
I walked out with one back pocket off balance,
learned to sit lopsided while it lost its corners
and grew supple as a foreskin.