PART OF WHERE THE POEM CAME FROM
Emotions: Unease, surprise.
When a marriage record at an online meeting of 14 people showed that one of the attendees had purchased/lived in the house where I grew up.
Someone else is living in my house
the house of my childhood.
On the Zoom call, I am connected to 14
people doing genealogical research.
My address comes up and one of the
participants, it turns out, lived in it.
In my house. The one I dream about
even drive past sometimes, pausing.
The one I lived in as a child and so will
always live in deeply, in a way I cannot explain.
We are lined up on the screen like thumbnails
of our former selves. Showered and preened
for viewing during a lockdown. It’s in a marriage
record that I see the address again. My house.
That one on the hill with the heavy wooden door
and the gables and the echoes of misery
through the halls. Where I laughed in a garden on
an outside swing and my father loved me
until I was three and my neighbour friend met me
in the park and we walked to lessons and
she was so slow, is still so slow in her
own way. That house. I still think of it as mine.
The only people I see now are on screens
or through screens.
The grocery worker I waved to this morning
as he loaded my produce into the trunk.
Thank you, I mouthed through the rear-view mirror
or maybe just to myself. Thank you.
The Queen is addressing the Commonwealth
she looks tired but assured, as always.
Her hair perfectly in place, her son
recovering from Covid19, all must be well.
Outside the plane window it is dark,
the oval a portal of memory.
I fly back from Australia, the other side
of the world, the other side of the moon, now.
The silence of rocketing through space. It is so dark and
quiet. The world seems impossibly connected
up here. Time suspended and the rush of muted
engines, the sound of air filtered through ducts, and
the sleeping passengers, who haven’t yet learned
they will be grounded soon, for a long time.