The man must be an owl.
His body has twisted
180 degrees to face the bar,
empty pint glass in hand,
while his neck and head
keep focusing on the stranger
who joined his table 30 minutes ago.
The man has listened to thoughts
on black ice, the need for more
public bins, the smell of the shop
next door, the price of haddock.
He’s nodded. He’s smiled.
He’s completely contorted.
Am I keeping you? the stranger asks.
It’s Christmas, the man says.
© Carl Burkitt 2022