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This poem is taken from PN Review 253, Volume 46 Number 5, May - June 2020.

Two Poems Laura Scott
The Wrong Man

It was in a Chinese restaurant. We were eating seaweed, first time I’d had it,
first time I’d been on my own with godfather and he was talking on and on
in a voice that never drew breath, a voice that unscrolled itself like one of those
proclamations with handles someone holds in a film and then drops so we see it
unrolling down the stairs. He was laying out the case, telling me how he ended up with
the wrong man, wrong colour hair, wrong eyes, wrong everything and I’m fourteen maybe
fifteen, sitting across the table from him trying to balance ivory chopsticks on the sides
of my fingers and stop the napkin sliding off my lap, not knowing what to say because
the thing is, I loved this wrong man more than the confiding godfather, especially the wave
in his hair, the way he smells expensive and his slightly plummy voice with a half-laugh in it
as if there’s a joke stuck permanently in the back of his throat. There have been lots more
since then of course but only one who rhymed with him. Years later, different restaurant,
Italian this time, lots of people around a big table, after my father’s funeral
and I’m talking to an aunt, the youngest and sweetest of his sisters who’s telling me
of the man she should have married. And as she talks her voice holds him up like a waiter

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