Through a windy night, busy with fireworks,
we walk to Hoole community centre –
a Victorian elementary school –
for a friend’s fiftieth. There are songs
of love and heartache and hope. I watch the moon
white-faced move from pane to pane. My mother
and her two sisters were schooled here when the limes
in the yard were straight and slender. (My aunts
were destined for spinsterhood – one via
a married lover from Lockerbie –
my mother widowhood, her Jewish husband
buried in Ibadan). I imagine them
silent at their slates or skipping home
reciting loudly through the cobbled streets.
My dreams are always of departures.
All Souls Dayelementary schoolHooleIbadanJewishLockerbieVictorian