The difficult bits

He’s standing in my doorway, a red polo neck
peeking out of a blue Puma jumper. His black
jeans fit nicely and his running shoes look well
worked. We’ve been talking for two minutes.
He owns Flat 7 and is sorting out a few bits
before the new tenant moves in, and he heads back
to Sidney to be with his boys. He lived here
for 50 years but there’s no family left and when
he gets ill he can’t expect to rely on friends
to do the difficult bits. I’m Tony, by the way, he says.
I’m Carl, I reply, without hugging him
or explaining how my middle name is Antony.
He asks if I’ve got terrestrial or Virgin Media.
He asks if he can see my grill
because he seems to have lost his.
He compliments my son’s basket of cars
and trips on the kitchen’s baby gate.
Hopefully we’ll meet again, he says,
sprinting off to ASDA.

© Carl Burkitt 2022

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