A thousand loops of time

Stephanie Grieve 2014

Since she lost her little girl

my friend counts time

instead of sleeping

in hours

as well as days:

about a thousand now, just over.

As a child, time loops

and loops

refusing to be tethered.

Aged five, our Zo‘ë tries to shape it

imagines it perhaps

as an oblong between birthdays.

And don’t you think I know

that as I race, stretching it to fit

I am being disrespectful?

That I will wake one day

unable to rise

paralysed by the pain of it:

this insistence

on looking back, glorifying

temps perdu

the constant search for it

by tying things up

to the present

She lives up North now’days. Couple of labs for company.

Even this perfume reminds me

of our trip three months ago

impossible brilliance

the sky every bit as azur

as that eponymous coast.

Late Spring promising the world

to silken lovers lying

on daybeds, limbs and perfect youth

displayed under orange umbrellas.

We returned via that long-haul washing machine

to Winter, grief

the trick of hemispheres.

Low cloud rolling in

over our thin strip of island

making set to stay.

Now we collect the instants as memories

like broken shells from the beach

as many as the palm can hold.

In old age, time seems to doze

an afternoon nap

then suddenly, dusk.