Unabashed

What did he see when he stared at me,
the old man at the next table, trapped
in his wheelchair while his wife and friend
chatted in cheery English tones?
Mutely he eyed his mini-lamb burger,
eating so slowly, each bite an act of muscle
memory. Three times I glanced up,
caught his dark brown pupils on me,
but I was the one who looked away.
Did he graze my breasts and think
of the first time he cupped a woman
with uncalloused hands? Or was it my
cheekbones – transporting him to a dance
hall terrace on a warm summer night –
a sweetheart’s face close to his?
We linked our sight only briefly,
but what I saw there was a man,
as alive as I, trapped in a failed body
and failing mind. “Peter, do you want
some coffee? Peter?” His wife enunciates
each syllable. Fog descends.
“Give him decaf,” she tells her friend.

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