Historic Market Town

We park behind the leisure centre,
walk to the pedestrianised high street.
There’s a family butchers which smells of bleach,
homeware store whose plastic tat froths across
the pavement, a multi-coloured obstacle course.

The pub has seats outside, where locals
pass sweary judgement on passers-by.
Hungry, we swallow our pride, sidle past
six tables of drunk women and dazed toddlers
trading insults on the pretext of a baby shower.

Lunch comes to £28.60, but
Oh, our card machine’s bust,
there’s a hole in the wall three doors down.

After, we buy paperbacks in charity shops,
get back to the car just before our three hours are up.
Unlikely to return, we take a last look at the town,
gawp at its residents, a lost, forgotten tribe
who have clung here like moss for centuries,
in a place where nothing ever happened.

Ben Banyard