When my uncle stood at the top of the office block roof

by Georgie Woodhead

he swayed from side to side, half-glugged bottle locked
in his burning fingers, his silhouette framed by the black hole of night,
flecks of scornful planets blinked behind his back. The whole world
stretched out in front of him like the sides of a fallen-down box,
and his eyes had been opened, and stared open as his shoulders
shook. His feet stumbled back and forth towards the edge,
the leather of his shoes creaking in protest against the gutter.

When the bar had closed and we were tossed out, left to stroll
with our hands shoved in our pockets like tree stumps rooted in earth,
we heard his bottle, a free-fall smash into green teeth on paving slabs.
He leaned over his small carnage in the same silence as we did,
our mouths open, eyelids pinned apart, necks turned like twisted cloth.
And him, with his frown slashed thin, disappointed, eyebrows folded
as if he had honestly expected anything different.