Good, sometimes to go outside and walk round yourself looking in the windows. There are lights blazing in rooms you have never seen; strangers dancing, reading, quarrelling; things going on you can scarcely credit. Only don’t stay out too long. They might change the locks.
I left you at the nursery, pink-eyed with fisted hands. You blinked at other baby’s wails, lips curled on the cusp of a scream. They lay you in a velour chair, bobbed fleecy shapes across your face. I rode towards a leaden Thames. The office glared from yellow eyes. I forgot to log-on, lost my […]
My father carried his mother through Yugoslavia and Greece. Stitched into the lining of his coat and against regulations, she kept him company through the days he hid in back rooms and under stairs; suckled him on nights huddled in churchyards, with only the chatter of his pad and key. He folded her […]
London, 1954 On Fridays just before sunset, mother lit candles for the Sabbath. We thanked the King of the Universe for the fruit of the vine, the gift of bread from the earth, the beauty of the day coming in like a bride. At sunrise we woke to a stillness, washed and reminded ourselves there […]
…Franz, I’ve sewn all your old endearments Into each and every stitch, My fingers talking in comfortable rhythm As the needle moves along the seam, in out, in out. We’re murmuring together as we used to do, Safe behind the streaming glass This past month of evenings – How it rains here! Sly northern rain, […]
My room feels crowded, stuffy, and I open windows wide. The tallest officer stands close as he stares out at my garden. He asks the names of flowers and trees: Sophora, walnut, sweet chestnut. He points to the flame-coloured flowers pressed against the wall – Fritillaria imperialis, I reply, otherwise known as crown imperials. […]