To love at all is to be vulnerable…
In and out, we four girls, arguing. Quick as light. No-one wallowed there. / “Hot water isn’t cheap you know, it costs me dear.”
If you want a glimpse into her childhood ask me/ for no-one knew her, loved her, cherished her more than I — / and my playmate, of long, long ago/ knew, loved and cherished me.
My godmother used to keep us busy on a prematurely dark evening, say mid-November, by playing this game. She would throw a line at us with the challenge to make a poem of it. One I remember went: “I took a knife and killed my cat to make a coat for Pidge.”
“If she could choose a place to die, if she had said: ‘let it be here, the holly walk, by party field, beneath a huge tempestuous sky, in sight of fields familiar, dear, with bluebells everywhere.”
“Watch out our Anne! Swing as high as you can! By the gate, with a dog, near the pond is a dirty old man.”
Queenie. Eva. Lil. Are waiting. Still. Improbably clean and stretched and white. On high beds. In electric light. On Headington Hill.
“What did you do today girlie?” I prayed not to die on the street of tat. Not to fall on the gum-puddled polka dot pavement, lever’d & cracked.
Little lady, brave in your Pink, with your glorious plumage, your ready smile, your ignorance of aged infirmities! You shamed our gloomy autumn woolens, our sniffles and Keep Out faces.