The gift orbits us
For H, then and now
I searched the crevices of the chair,
putting my fingers where my eyes were reluctant to go,
and sat back on my heels
with two bent bookmarks
and an old pen with a tiny rose in its lid.
I’m telling you, I told you,
that chair has a throat and a stomach. If ever
I have it recovered, I will ask the upholsterers
to search for your rectangle of glittering stones.
And I will return it –
in two or twenty years’ time.
I know the worth of that now;
I look forward to it.
As well as to the next time I drive to you,
all of three minutes away;
one road linking our homes.
A dip and a slight climb
that takes me through sun shot off glass,
shadows loosed by walls;
often the single great plane of night.
Hard to imagine traversing such solidity,
effortless in practice.
It seems that much of my life,
this life I remember
after the one I inhabited as a child,
is being spent with you with me
or in my thoughts.
When your voice was remote
there was your handwriting;
the two so similar, fast flowing.
But now you’re here,
and though you say it may change any day,
we’ve slowed into deeper water:
it feels permanent.
(First published in New Contrast 149, Autumn 2010)