Flemish Elvis impersonator dying

Delphine Lecompte

I remember his last cigarette
he tipped off the ash so cautiously
anxious not to speed up the burning process
the cleaners laughed at his out-of-date quiff
or at his oversized bowling shoes or at the whole picture
the radio was playing a remix of
a Welsh folk song about a blacksmith who
bludgeoned his wife to death with a horseshoe
so delicately forged by his rival.

He died before the cigarette
had dropped to the tiled floor
a candy wrapper caught fire
the radio crackled into an ominous news flash
I can't remember the news.

His quiff collapsed
like an avalanche it covered up his defeat
there was a gap
between his index and middle finger
it wouldn't close.