Writing by Harry Clough. Illustration by Antonia Popescu.
‘I’m sorry, what’s your name?’
Hunched like a hedgerow oak she sits
In a voluminous chair, remembering
A hazy piano playing a soft waltz
In the village hall where–
‘It’s me, mum. It’s Tabitha, remember?
I said I’d visit today.’
She watches him walk over, young but smart-suited
And nervously offer her his hand, a dance?
An upbeat bebop flickers between bridges, heads, solos
And the final, distorting, crashing-
A tray of food is placed quietly on the table.
‘Mum, your lunch is ready now, you should eat-’
Confetti flies like startled game birds into the sky,
He takes her hand in his, her life in his.
Looking into his face, a joyous smile…
It turns black, blank, expressionless, cold.
She can’t make out his face, who is–
‘You’ve got to eat Mum. They say you’re
Not eating enough. I–’
‘What a nice name, I have a daughter called Tabitha.’