When people talk about people they say ‘they’. They do it
over the starters. You’re sitting between them and
nod now and then, but you have no idea
what all the spoons are for.
They are other people, not the people who are talking
but the people they are talking about. I have never
claimed to love the word ‘they’, I just hear it.
I’m no fonder of ‘it’, you think.
It is something that happens in another country, in a big drought
with flies everywhere, the smell of fruit not even
describable any more, all eyes directed at
unreachably distant, fat water birds.
They point out a spelling error in the main course, nudge
each other and laugh, butter their bread. It makes
me think of ‘a’, which is closest to my heart.
A table. A meal. A guinea foul.
When people talk about people they never say, there is someone
here that. Or someone who is clearly. There is definitely,
without doubt, statistically, someone here who.
‘They’ has excluded us from consideration.
Every dinner has a raped woman. A homosexual.
An illiterate. A man who knows what all
the spoons are for. You’re better off
not talking to him.