Claire Orchard

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Don't let me be misunderstood

There’s a young man at the next table wearing
my t-shirt. I mean he’s wearing a t-shirt
the same as one of mine. I have a t-shirt just like his.
Only smaller. And his fits differently,
on account of his flatchestedness.
He could be my son. I mean he’s not, but he could be,
he’s young enough is what I mean. He looks a bit
disconcerted, I think he’s noticed me looking at him.
Probably thinks I’m a cougar. Not an actual cougar.
I’d hate to be misconstrued. After all,
he could almost be my son. I’ll look away now,
check out the flowers hanging from the ceiling.
They’re plastic, so not actual flowers.
The colours are quite garish but I guess
they occur in nature. The colours I mean,
not the flowers. Flowers like that don’t exist.
He’s doing the crossword. I mean he’s filling it in.
With a pen. He’s not very good. At the crossword,
I mean. His head bobbing up and down
as he counts the spaces. He’s frowning, it doesn’t fit.
I’d offer him a hand, but he might misunderstand,
plus he’s doing the cryptic. I’m no good at those.

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