like a photograph of fog

October 24, 2018

a misty moon

Tuesday night around ten o’clock cloud drifted in off the coast. The moon became “ghostly” behind its gauzy curtains and the wind dropped away to nothing. The smell of woodsmoke and coalsmoke hung in the air and filled me with a kind of nostalgia for winters past. It was the kind of night that might last forever (or so I felt). Minutes the length of hours. The moon a pure crystal liquid to be drunk in a single, intoxicating draft –

And yet time is terribly two-faced, isn’t it? Ambiguous, certainly.

For example, on my desk is a BBC guide to the Proms for 2015. Three years ago now. I can remember getting it as if it were only yesterday. The time between then and now, is hardly anything at all to my mind. The older I get, the more I feel my life has been clicked to ‘fast forward’. Where does all the time go?

Time has become like a photograph of fog. Its corners are sucked into a vague lack of point, creating a void without horizon, without sky. And I’m lost somewhere in that fog –

The monotony of memory dances to the tune of time, of course. The girl, Claire, like all girls, was labyrinthine to fourteen year old me. She felt betrayed and wished to punish me because of Gillian. We stood isolated beyond the small boating lake. Abruptly, unexpectedly, she raised the hem of her dress –

I experienced, then and now, immediate arousal. Sight of her red pubic hair, the colour of sin, the colour of hellfire, made me feel swimmy-headed and weightless. She had on no undies. And there she stood. I could just make out the beginnings of her small sex tucked away in those firey curls.

‘I want you to know what you’ve lost,’ she said. ‘Take as good long look. This could have been yours. I’d have let you – ’

And with that she lowered the hem of her dress, turned and walked quickly away. We never, ever spoke again –


If Grief Were a Bird

Then I woke up in the still dark and the cold to the sound of the birds starting up in the trees long before dawn, and I lay there unable to sleep and I wondered, if grief were a bird, what would it be?

Susan Wood