Her hands hold tightly onto the bed sheet.
I coax her into remembering his room; she lets go;
her fingers dance to the tune her memory
chooses to recall. I can still hear it;

a warm summer when she sang,
and the wireless crackled every time I passed.
It was their room then, where they sat
talking their old words.

In the room, he would write of unusual places,
of her, and his God, who eventually took him away.
She looks tired, staring at a face she doesn’t know.
Maybe I’m not born yet,

or still the child who picked blackberries from a bush
she planted herself. It’s her room now, where she sat
breathing his space until her eyelids eclipsed
the last moment of light

and needlework trembled to her feet in a fall of snow.
Her fingers relax; the wrinkles on her face soften.
She lies awake inside my head, speaking the old words,
but my mind doesn’t seem to be listening.

The blackberry bush has gone: birds nested there once.


Rowland Hughes ©