Friday, 13 March 2015
There is a strand of hair that has worried
her all day. It was there when she
brushed it that morning, in the bathroom
mirror dripping with condensation, smelling
of bath-oil, tooth-paste, and damp walls.
She could see it in the rear-view mirror
of the car her nan leant her money to buy.
It's in every smeared reflection, even her
dulled shadow that follows her along the corridors
that reek of bleach and urine. But no one else sees it.
All they see is the rain streaking the panes
and the nurse that is not really a nurse -
who calls gran 'me duck' - and the small hole
in the back of her tights where her shoe
has rubbed her heel red and sore.
The birds sing to the traffic and
the shuffling feet at the bus stop below,
and the relatives, sit beside the undrunk
beaker of cold tea, as awkward as adolescence,
and do not see that strand of hair, or the warmth
of her smile or how she quietly closes the door as she leaves.
And no one knows that on an afternoon like
this, of grey light and a hollow wind, that
for one moment, in a lecture theatre, she
shone with such brilliance that thoughts
crackled in the air and her words flamed
and flared around her head like comets
blazing in the night.
And, for a while, it was as if all the world
was black and she bathed those around
in the liquid, burning light of her questions
and the fire of her thoughts. And the lecturer
stood quietly, barefooted on hallowed
ground, entranced by the wonder
of such pure fire.