I follow my torch beam into the orchard,
there’s a tinge of peach in the sky.

Just ahead of me there’s a shadowy figure standing on the path.
I recognise his flat cap and walking stick.

He says, ‘Hello.’
I say, 'Hello, how are you?’

He says, 'Do I know you?’
I say, 'Yes!’

It’s pitch black and he’s in his eighties,
we speak for a few minutes in the dark.

His old cottage is being repainted - it’s been forty years since its last coat,
and new wiring is being fitted.

By mistake electricians have connected his kitchen light to an outdoor security sensor
and a red light from a newly fitted smoke alarm is disrupting his sleep.

I’m running late, so I edge away and say goodnight - he says God bless,
and I chuckle to myself at the thought of cats switching on his kitchen light.