At first it was easy. I cloaked myself in the shroud
of his name, took up his old trousers with some tape
I lifted from the haberdashers on the corner. His car
was a manual, which took some getting used to. Not
one to be defeated, I levered forward the seat and
drove to his mother’s one Sunday afternoon.
It’s interesting that I knew the way.
The old woman had rheumy eyes, faded and
watering. Should I read that as significant? Offer
her to you as an oracle? Her cardigan was on
inside out. She nudged me with her nose as if
I were a blind puppy, knew the scent was off
yet kept me in her nest regardless – the deception
suited us both. But the flotsam started to bump
around me in the darkness before too long.
An ex-lover got in touch and she’d locked me in her
attic before I understood her reheated obsession.
I had to plead a case of fleeting genius when asked
to write a new forward to the book that made
my name. It goes without saying that crowds
flocked to see me, risen again, the stumbling miracle.
The limelight came to taste like chalk, clagging my
mouth, neutralising the thrill of return. I visited
his grave one autumn evening, part macabre curiosity,
part penance. Maybe to speak to him: ask for forgiveness
and the passcode for his phone. Before I knew it I had
lowered myself in, soil under fingernails, beneath tongue.
Burying myself in the relief of being unknown, I closed
my eyes in the confines of the coffin,
rang the bell, and waited.
Catherine Redford lives in the West Midlands. Her poetry has been awarded Highly Commended in the Sussex Poetry Competition and has been shortlisted for the Martin Starkie Prize. Twitter: @C_Redford_