Pevsner’s Staffordshire

Charles Penty

A bespoke-made Gladstone bag still holds
items stowed for two decades or more:
linen jacket, lido ticket,
an annotated edition

of Boswell’s Life of Johnson,
armbands to shore up your shirt sleeves.
Guide to the Buildings of Staffordshire
collects fines at the closed library

as Karajan conducts again
the Berlin Philharmonic
on your tape of Mozart’s Requiem.
Seed packets spill chrysanthemums

into my hand – flowers for her
whom you survived to your surprise,
she who peers from the photographs
you had deftly sectioned in half.