Friendly, reliable, semi-retired plasterer

He’s stuck
flush on the local notice board,
as smooth and white as his hair
or the bathroom wall of a freshly made new-build.
The local theatre group wants him to join them
and tackle a small role in Hamlet.
A Slimming World Poster to his right
reckons he should try walking the Pennines
of a weekend, a Sharpie-scribbled note asks
if he’s ever tried crocheting, a peer-to-peer
mental health group remind him to talk
even if it feels like he can’t. He picks up his brew
with a callus in the shape of a right hand
and checks his phone again.

© Carl Burkitt 2023

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