‘I’ve been away,’ she said, as we sipped our wine
at the Philosophy Department’s graduation party.
‘I’ve been ill but I’m better now. I’ll do a masters
on the teleology of the ampersand.’
I nodded. We were both acolytes
of linguistic analysis.
‘Do you know the wild flower,
Rosebay Willow Herb?’
I nodded again, a memory suddenly shaken.
‘The night I was born German bombs
planted its seeds in my brain.’
Next door to my first school was a field full of Fireweed,
in the ruins of a synagogue razed by a Flying Bomb.
I thought of my father in heaven.
As autumn progressed and the power cuts increased
and the flowers died, the teacher read to us
about Tundra and Mammoth and Sabre-toothed Tiger.
I understood that it was long ago or far away
but hoped nevertheless I should be able one day
to brave the snows and kill the beasts.
She was awarded an aegrotat degree
and, some two months later,
sectioned. We lost touch.
aegrotat degreeampersandcollateral damageFireweedFlying BombGermangraduation partyMammothmastersPhilosophy DepartmentRosebay Willow HerbsSabre-toothed Tigersectionedsynagogueteleologytundra