written by: Clive Grewcock
Peeling the nub of pages apart,
I am reminded of
the cauliflower patch – do you remember?
Is it only me, not disgusted
by the clinging brown shadow
of floret – holding onto the pages
for all these years?
Unearthed from between the pages
like a hopeful memory
with my brother in another time;
leaves clinging together
waiting for this moment to release
an apparition to reach out
and reunite our lives that
have been running in parallel,
unseen for all this time.
A time when my brother and I were never good
at time keeping; I am talking about
a pocket of our lives. A time kept safe
from the neighbour (as sour as
his brassicas surely were, growing
in his garden) who would be released – shouting
and threatening if his lawn was invaded.
When the little sense we had
would send us home
before darkness fell.
I don’t remember leaving –
as I am pictured sneaking (in my mind
at the time, invisibly while actually
fully exposed) through the vegetable patch
on my belly.
The light dying,
hopes fading of finding
my whittled wooden knife you tossed
over the neighbour’s fence –
among cauliflowers slowly growing.
We are still watching, from this distance.
Tonight, sitting in the silence of late middle age,
I can make out our wide bottomed jeans,
polyester t-shirts and our long sun-blonded hair.
This smudge on the page
Brings me back together,
still smelling the earthy leaves unfolding.
The past isn’t always past –
leaves are paper thin,
this memory will shine through
and it will carry on
when held up to the light,
forming familiar patterns.
Would I have known the secret of memory
Then, as eyes watched
through dampened window pane.
Never sure if they can see
me in the fading light.
The couple focus then as I do now.
Perhaps they can, perhaps they smell.
An instinct that time will surely pass while
I hunt in vain.
We must watch and wait.
As we grew up, my memory
would be trapped in that garden –
waiting to be resown
by the softly moulding outline, reawakened
in the leaves of this book.
A lifetime ago –
two lives, the same person
coming back together.
The feeling that this is new
terrain and so familiar –
just the same.
As if it didn’t matter what happened then.
It does. I wasn’t younger then,
like I’m not older now.
Things are not less important
for I am always the same age
at the time.
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