The beard he’s never seen

After John Osborne

The pub was getting busy and he’d been gone
for so long my trousers had gone from jeans
to chinos to jeans again. I didn’t wear
Hawaiian shirts anymore, but flannel checks
then black H&M classic neck t-shirts
then thick jumpers bought for me with confidence.
My hair stopped being short back and sides
and welcomed curls because life can end
at 16 and some things have to be
what they’re supposed to be. He could have walked
in hours ago, floated past the beard he’s never seen,
asked if WKD Blues are still popular,
burst the heads of bar staff with that smile
and bored them about models of Mercedes.

© Carl Burkitt 2022

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