XXIV. The Meadows A storm is blowing through. Aidan. Huge gusts shove children in the playpark, they stagger – little sozzled people – then regain their footing, run. Shouts can’t be heard above the blasting storm that rips through trees, strips boughs, steals hats. The pink curly wig on the girl with fishnet stockings is glued tight. (Remind me, when did Hallowe’en costumes become all sexy?) Leaves swirl, rise like a flock of fowl from water, lift in a ream, a flowing stream, turning, eddying, yielding, falling upon me in a buttery blizzard. A solitary man practices Tai Chi. Wind barrels through his outstretched arms, but he stands firm. Slow, steady, fluid, he turns his anchored body while I feel as though I might ride the gale to Oz, or outer space, the moon, leave all behind. I contemplate his tranquil state and breathe a little deeper. I watch a cloud scud by. I will slither from this rutted month, snake from my skin, into new, clear winter light. XXV. Kitchen Table Sparklers, a fire, hot soup, maybe song, all that was the plan before it went agley as plans aft do. Instead I’m back here in my kitchen, clock ticking, turning, marking out the days, the nights, the dates – today’s: his birthday, fifth I’ve had without him. I’ll never see him age. I’m glad of that (sometimes), not to see his face cracked like Japanese pottery, or my heart – most people’s, truth be told, have hairline fractures running through. The dying pass on their love before they leave, they don’t need it anymore. Listen to the whisper of someone’s soul taking flight in the wind tonight. And it takes from me. Blows dead branches hanging on because they don’t know what else to do. So fall and rot and grow anew, let winter plait intention through the darkness. The hermit’s gone. The flat is empty. There’s no one at this kitchen table but me.
Edinburgh, A Long Poem
Eimear Bush (September-October 2020)