There is a banana plant at the laundrette

by Tim Kiely

For the same reason as anyone else –
this heat leaves bands of chalk white
on the lining of its suit jacket,

which yes is hardly practical wear
for a plant in this weather, but still
it has to be worn, at least for work.

It stands in a line snaking out the door
where everyone nods in the traffic fumes
failing to be surprised.

Its face is wet with late August.
It is just aware of the xylophone
of Saint-Saën’s ‘Fossils’, since the Turkish cashier

has the radio tuned to Classic FM
to make things seem normal. It’s not working;
his face is paralysed with belief.

Its turn arrives. There are a few
whispered apologies
to the customers swept by its broad leaves,

before it bends over the counter, puts
five white shirts and a suit jacket down,
explains itself to the Turkish cashier

who is struggling to comprehend what he
might bring to life with his next daydream,
and a single slow bead of sweat

falls to the counter in a plea
softer than language
for understanding.