They contained us, we, I, in their bellies, blood, and water; constrained us tight as seeds in the cells and in the breath. Before the splitting, the infinite doubling, and now I hold them all, a rabble of ancestors, pressing up from inside against my skin, and too, I contain the next generation, if I wish.
Not long before leaving, she’d begun forgetting the words that produced her life. Simple words like saucepan, obelisk, masquerade and most recently, cufflinks, which she’d called wrist links, her mind toddler-fumbling with the picture-sounds till her husband corrected her with an unconcerned look on his face.
‘Soppy’, she said, teasing me about the mother of pearl box filled with baby teeth, the lacy blanket we wrapped her in to bring her home from the hospital, her school reports, her first shoes, her favourite doll – all safe and sound in a trunk in the spare room.
‘D’you want a hand with that?’ he says, a hand-rolled fag hanging from the corner of his lip, unlit, of course.
She pushes the crate of milk bottles onto the flatbed of the float.
‘Don’t often see a lady doing this job.’