‘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.