The wind’s teeth rip
new holes in my jeans,
tear the breath out of the three of us,
Me so deep inside my days,
I barely knew my friends were there
that whole exposed mile.
Is that how it was? I’m not sure;
you have to revisit your memories, don’t you,
remake your own image in them?
Liz spurred me along,
led me to water,
the domed well
I had forgotten was there,
a 12-pillared miracle,
silhouette sketched by lapwings.
We were sixteen then
and I was planning to make muteness
a permanent state.
Dragged from a room so cold
that miniature stalactites hung from the head jamb.
This was the alternative I was offered –
to pace the ledge, tread the width of each stair,
turn circle after circle,
pawing at the edges, looking for the source.
Hard to see in the dim light
but there – a brass tap
with the handle snapped off.
Still. I told them I used to dance here
before my parents’ divorce.
Hulked over by the horse-chestnut
grown monstrous on chalybeate,
we tried it, flung our limbs around,
trying desperately to get warm.
I remember that and, approaching the bridge,
the fearsome echo
of something I couldn’t fathom
reverberated in my bones like…
There was snow?
Yes, I recall the thaw of someone else’s
footprints as I stumbled back.
‘A train,’ Karen said and we watched it flash
towards the future, trailing its echo
By Becky Cherriman