Snapped black and white in Kodak Verichrome,
more than seventy years ago, by an aunt
with a Kodak Brownie, I am supine
in a small pram. The park’s avenue
of lime trees in leaf suggests May
and therefore me, coverless, five months.
My fingers are clasped and bare feet are crossed,
like an effigy’s or a lounge lizard’s.
I am awake and eyeing the camera,
through half-shut lids, like an insulted
potentate – or an about-to-be-mardy
baby. Behind me, in the distance,
is the spire of the Victorian
sandstone parish church, in the middle ground
tennis courts and someone serving.
Beside me, in sharp focus (on a bench
with concrete ends and wooden slats, ‘There’s-
a-war-on-you-know’ weeds burgeoning
beneath it) my mother, a handsome woman
with rich, auburn hair, a war widow since March –
her ancestors Welsh seafarers, some drowned,
some landlocked. She is almost smiling.
Most days, in all seasons, we walk the park,
an Edwardian legacy, named
for Queen Alexandra, a fashionista
mother of six, a loather of Prussians –
being a daughter of a Danish king –
and disabled over time by her deafness,
then slowly losing speech and memory.
We talk of the present – how our daughter laughed
on the swings and now her daughter does.