Things To Tell An Empty Chair
Little Granddaughter scoops, slops, pats, makes a cake of wet sand.
She sings Happy Birthday, leans in to blow out an imagined candle, knees bent and hands splayed.
Boy is in the ocean, recording the low roll of surf over a smooth rock.
Dog fetches the ball, this is important work.
Slaves to our art, each of us.
It is good to break for lunch.
We sit on a blanket with pasties of a dangerous heat. Eventually we get to eat them.
Granma Grace is up and dressed in the hospital ward. Cool air blows and the nurse brings ice for her water glass.
'I thought that was it for me,' she says. 'But I've got more Great Grandchildren to meet, it wasn't my time yet.'
We speak of getting a new chair, for when she is back at home, and getting rid of the little sofa, which is comfortable but too low to get out of with ease. She will keep the chair that Grandad Gordan once favoured. She talks to it, she tells us, imagines him there, rubbing his hand over the softness of the velvet arm: do you remember he did that, she asks Mr, and Mr nods, and they smile together.
A churn of smoke from the bonfire spins out over the field. The flame is fierce, intermittently. Dry hedge cuttings are fed to it.
'Looks like a dragon,' I note, to Little Granddaughter, but she thinks: 'Dinosaur. Roar!'
'Okay,' I allow. 'Dinosaur.'
She lies on the old patched blanket and shouts at birds. 'Shoo, birds, don't eat a fruit a me!'
She studies the sky. 'Where's a moon?'
I tell her: 'Hiding in a cloud. Behind a tree.'
Satisfied, she points at a cloud. 'That one.'
Hours after bedtime Little Granddaughter is laid down in the travel cot.
'I'm just going to sort the washing:' no need to cajole, she's asleep.
Mr is watching the fire, tidying up blankets, chuckling.
'There's the moon,' he says: points to the Fat-Trunked Ash. From behind those branches, a round-bodied pinkish moon rises from a cloud.
|Granma Grace- she doesn't like her hair in this picture but we think it's beautiful.|