They’re talking about his pub of the year award,
how every chair has a bum on it, the way
the new year has done wonders to his skin,
how the Manchester air will drop to minus four
tonight, how Tom has de-icer in his satchel,
how the pints are falling easy for a Monday.
The landlord’s football team lost 5-0
at the weekend to the alien town I’m from.
The regulars are talking,
doing what they can not to mention it.
The landlord says he doesn’t care
and is winking at me while they spend more
in conversational sympathy.

© Carl Burkitt 2023

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