Archive – Jacqueline Haskell

Archive

Sometimes you catch the train into the city, the central library,
for the archive. There you watch footage from the war,
scan blown glass, missile drops, train stations.

A home video, newly surfaced, downloaded from an ancient iPhone:
refugees crossing at Medyka, waiting to board buses, going west.
The librarians know to call you when this happens.

You would know it anywhere, her coat; too distinctive to miss
with its lupin-coloured quilting, fake-fur collar and
the striped pixie hood she swore made her invisible.

Sometimes you catch the train into the city, the central library,
for the archive, hoping to see her – you and her – that exact moment
when she was there at Medyka, holding your hand. And then not.

By now you know them better than you know your own, the librarians –
where they go for lunch, the park bench, summer, winter,
their children and grand-children: whether their coats have hoods.

Jacqueline Haskell’s first poetry collection, Stroking Cerberus, was published by Myriad Editions in 2020 – https://myriadeditions.com/books/stroking-cerberus/ – as part of the Spotlight Books series. Her debut novel, The Auspice, was a finalist in both the 2018 Bath Novel Award and the 2020 Cinnamon International Literature Prize.