I hadn’t seen her in a decade,
Not since that time we …
Now she’s lying before me, tucked-up warm
In hospital sheets.
Her face is older now, saggy in parts –
And sallow. Her mouth puckers into
A tight circle when I arrive, an ‘Oh!’
Like that time we…
She touches my arm, cold fingers
That leave cold circles for minutes after.
‘How have you been? How time flies,
Tell me, what have you done since…
Her shoulders hunch, eyebrows rise.
She reads my face, faster
Than the note I left by her bed…
‘Tell me,’ she insists, ‘did you sail to that island,
Where the wind whips the waves
Onto the lighthouse by the edge
Of the sea. Did you?
‘Did you climb the thousand stone steps
To the castle in the sky,
Where the world ends
And life unfolds like a paper chain?’
‘Did you finally find that missing moment,
Capture it in a photograph,
A half-truth bent into a scrap
Or did you leave it behind?’
Her chestnut eyes leave mine,
Trail the cracks on the ceiling
And rest in the corner of room.
The sound of my footsteps echo
After I leave.
Eilidh G Clark