When small talk starts

every word ever invented
sits behind a frame in an art gallery
next to a sign saying DO NOT TOUCH.
The air is glue. I cannot remember
what happened on my weekend
and cannot remember how to ask you
about yours. The weather doesn’t exist.
I can see everything: fingerprints
on the windows but not who they belong to,
a water ring on a brand new coffee table,
a packet of crisps and no-one to eat them.
A vein in my neck wants to know
about your heart and how it works
and you want to know what I do
for a living.

© Carl Burkitt 2023

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