Dedicated to Elisabeth Schiller-Campbell.
Now I’m holding a bundle of flickering string
It falls; unravelling
I try to gather it up but it keeps unwinding
each new string spiralling in a new direction
all rolling of their own volition
sometimes overlapping, knotting, twisting together
then tugging apart. Undone
sometimes they just end
and hang suspended
I try following one but get lost
in the endless tangle
of brown yellow blue green red orange black pink purple
piercing my skin
the strings scramble up my veins
pool in my heart
and tangle in my brain.
Now I see:
My great-grandfather trimming rose-bushes
My grandmother milking cows at dawn
My father walking to school
My mother leaving home
I try to sift through the memories
Was it when I first said ‘no’ to an offer of ice-cream?
The imperceptible smile when
The numbers on the scale started to slip?
Snapshots drip into my mind
They gather in my brain like sand
Pooling at the bottom of an hourglass
Was it the chubby cheeks I so detested as a child?
Each obscuring the other
Or the warning words: ‘once you stop growing
You’ll have to eat less’?
Together they form a whole
Or was it the fact I’m more like my mother than I’d ever imagined?
Individual memories create a mosaic
each one a puzzle piece linked to the next
growing to build a cathedral
a dome encircling me
drawing closer and closer to the ground beneath my feet
I look up and see a glimpse of my birth
my eyes trail down past
my first clumsy steps
my pimpling face
my packed bags
the bottom edges flicker and waver
my past exams
the breakfast I just had
me: sitting at a desk, writing.