Wayne Price, ‘Watching the Menders’
Behind their George Street window,
ignoring the shoppers who all day
search for something new, the two
Lebanese tailors mend, bowed
at their benches, at their chattering
machines. Watching them, waiting again
for you, I could persuade myself
that watchers and watched all work
the same taut threads – between fingers,
on pavements like this, on the pillows
of beds; so many invisible menders
of clothes that never fit or show
and anyway always tear. None of it
helps at all. I know that you, late again,
will soon not bother with these afternoons.
Everything happens once. You are
someone else; somewhere new.
For another last time I crane my neck
and one of the tailors lifts his head, turns
as if to meet my stare. His face is blank
behind the glass. The traffic crawls;
shoppers process like fish in a bowl. Both
emperor and boy in the tale were right,
dressed in their lonely question of what
nothing might be; how best to greet it.
Wayne Price was born in South Wales but now lectures in literature and creative writing at the University of Aberdeen. His poems and short stories have appeared widely, winning a variety of prizes, and his short story collection Furnace was published by Freight Books in 2012.