“Is that really me?” you ask,
humour finding a way
through loss of memory. “I think so.”
Watching you, I wonder
what is the essence of the self?
Does death really unpick all?
You cleverly conceal
the moments when you quite forget
who I am. I arrived too late
to be woven in, yet feel you know
what I am if not quite who.
You offer to introduce me to the dead
who look out from the pages of the album.
“Such a charming fellow this one.
I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.” Doubt
clouds your eyes a moment,
but you say no more except:
“my goodness, what hats we wore!”
You pause at a picture of the house we sit in, say
“Such a lovely place, and I believe
we live there still, but can’t be quite sure …”
Your hand goes to turn the page but your mind
still moves between two pictures, back and forth
and we are caught here –
I for some reason have the image
of a silk dress torn on barbed wire
some long lost afternoon, venturing down
towards a river in full summer glory.
Suddenly released, you at once forget
that two impulses undid each other,
and with fresh energy you offer
to bring us all together, living and dead,
for that ritual cup of tea…