Memories, often perpendicular to intimacy
those with whom time was patient
or circumstances liberal
decompose to unimportant
consigned to off-site lock-up
tombstones promised faithfully
visited aftermath fleetingly – then not at all.
Or placed in the spare room
walked by each day without reaction
and others not really known
loiter in the foyer of consciousness
leaping into being at the flimsiest of coincidence.
In five years less than 10 hours
would have been spent alone with her
perhaps as much again in group company.
Mid 1960’s cool granny spectacles
and bobbed auburn fringe
dangling earrings swinging in laughter
or flicked with contempt
keeping time with anecdotes unfurled in the Midwest drawl.
She was 34 on introduction
six years older
difference serrated by divorce
and fluency in worldspeak
scaled age beyond appearance.
When cancer won hand-to-hand combat with chemotherapy
42 thought 48, young, brutally young.
Stories, there were so many
in response to the inevitable question upon meeting
she replied, “ a painter
but support myself as a goldsmith
just as surgeons have gynaecology for a hobby
and make their money from obstetrics.”
When I heard she had died
the one about her mother came to mind
it lingered unwilling to leave.
Her mother she told us at coffee
once threatened to commit suicide
“so I went to the kitchen
got the sharpest knife
and said there do it.”
An epitaph mocking death
she would like that.