I visit you with your favourites
a fresh cream slice and Hyacinths
on a bright Sunday afternoon and you
look up from deal or no deal on the telly
to greet the lively, pink bloom
I hope it might remind you of the old garden beds
you dug over one long gone June.
Your eyes are milky blue,
sky and cloud, cloud and sky.
Your voice crackles like the film wrap round a cigarette pack.
“Thanks love.” you say lighting up.
I don’t ask about your pills
or the pile of bills that fill your windowsill.
We are strangers meeting on a station platform
exchanging pleasantries. Starlings form storm clouds
between lines, that ever move, like tides
crumbs scatter like murmuring rain.
“You look well”
“I feel well”
“Bulbs are coming up”
“Are they? Oh good!”
There are places we won’t venture, old lanes we won’t re-tread, old rooms
we won’t clear to view.
Ashes pile among stubbs.
A stray wind scatters their scent among budding blossoms
that spark and crystallize along stark boughs of a young apple tree we dug in dormant
The world has been re-sized to fit
the dimensions of your front room window.
We hang bird feeders,
sow seeds, trim the box hedge flush
and train the honeysuckle along the fence because
you think it’s ugly
and the council wont let you replace it.
Sometimes I see a flicker, a glimmer, a glimpse, deeper,
further out, beyond the swell and surge of dreams lost
to daytime shows
where streets become oceans and words boats,
where I still see that broad shouldered girl
with plaits thick as ropes
swinging from her head.
The girl I’d gazed at in old photos as a child.
The girl who spoke her German lilt through a gap toothed smile.
The remnants of her mother tongue un-spun as threads,
tripping her up, making each word sound sung.
Once war came you’d learn to mute that song
with a silencer in case the neighbours’ thought you spies.
As you tell me about the jenny wrens and wagtails
the taxi-man’s daughter’s wedding
the view from your window suddenly widens,
broadens, ripples from days to decades and further still beyond
any visible horizon.
A person is made of myriad things, memories, thoughts, dreams.
I know that you are each and every one of these
and many people I will never meet besides.
Yet to me you can only ever be one.
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