Thursday, 28 November 2013

Nan and her Bin, my grandfather: An edit.

Nan and her Bin, my grandfather:
(and their truly missing knuckles)

I have this memory, conjured from photos,
the finger tapping the side of my head like the magician's wand,
or, perhaps the memory is real, a dove
with wings to carry it from past to present,
of that day in the cemetery
when they buried Nan’s old Bin, my grandfather.

Nan’s hand, the skin wrinkled and spotted, from sun
and no rest, the third finger missing to the first knuckle, lingers
heavily upon the casket, as she waits
for the twin green straps to be withdrawn,
lowering, therefore, the casket
and within, the still body of Nan’s beloved Bin.

I can hear her thoughts in my mind (the years, a funnel
expressing the hidden moments we miss at the time) - she wonders,
with faded, crisp leaves rustling words along
the cracked and pitted paths,
how she might explain (even as her thoughts are disrupted
by the bunched-up cars on the grass beside the gravestones,
humming their eagerness to repel the day and be on their way)
to the grandchildren lost in phones and fancies
that inside the casket,
his right hand, wrinkled and spotted too,
has the third finger missing to the same first knuckle?

How to explain, she thinks, I think, that she
misses that missing finger of his,
as much as anything can be missed
that is no longer there?

How to explain, she whispers to ears that can no longer listen,
that being alone matters
because what is gone never leaves?

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