'All Human Life is There' (I.P.)
Scratchwood; yours truly –
chilling out, after a ‘hard day
at the office’. She gestures,
‘May I sit down?’... Remove my coat
from the back of the chair;
foreign – obviously; by the look
of her skin, Eastern European, I’d say.
Her hair’s tied back in an elastic band –
fugitive strands, hell-bent on escaping.
I sip my coffee; she toys with hers –
black as the crescent moons beneath
her eyes. In her hand, clutched to her breast,
a rosary – beads, blue and green; dabs
at her nose with a tissue.
Rummages in her bag – pulls out
a black and white photo; a girl perched
on the branch of a tree. ‘Marie’,
she tells me. ‘Marie’, I nod, politely;
wise not to get too involved. One can’t
be too careful, not these days.
I neck my cappuccino – less than
ready to head on down the road;
Scratchwood, until now, a blurred,
fuzzy memory of that evening,
seems a lifetime ago. Goodbyes
can’t be said, when hellos aren’t spoken.
Yet, often, words, are the last things
in the world any of us need.