It was six countries, twenty-four hours
and fifteen hundred miles away that we
dined upon lamb jalfrezi,
paratha with fenugreek,
smoked tandoori aubergine,
and aloo matar with cardamon rice, whilst you
were buried in the dark. Afterwards,
I awarded Bombay Palace 5/5 on the app:
‘Really appreciate you delivered so far out’ –
and settled to a del Toro flick, the dog on my lap.
My mind’s eye sees you rootling through cupboards
searching for candles and paraffin, and watch
the fire’s flames kindle your parchment face;
hear the squeal of the red kettle
on the huffing stove as the wind
tantrums the petulant trees and the waves rush
against the teeth-gritted rocks and Ken’s dinghy
spooks her chains in the harbour.
I’ll hear on the news tomorrow how, in Inverbervie,
gusts reached 81 miles per hour,
which means that particles of smoke
from your fire, or flakes of dandruff, or a fragment of leaf
from the beech hedge by your door
could have reached me here about the time
I set off on my morning run.
But the wind blows another tune;
the air stays sullen and snowflakes run through it
like lice, and now my phone’s gone quiet
so I have to imagine your voice.
We have weathered storms before:
Charleton Maternity, 1978, the snow’s plumage so complete
it wouldn’t let Dad register my birth.
Or Ardmore campsite, 1989;
after the fray, ours the only tent standing.
And now we weather storms apart.
Is the red kettle boiling yet?
Please, pick up.
Zoë Green was born in Scotland, and now lives and works in Vienna and Berlin. Her writing has been published in the London Magazine, Harpers and Queen, bandit fiction, and New Linear Perspectives.