The photograph

it was in the drawer next to his bed


next to this bed, the last bed.

Not the real bed, not the marriage bed.
Not even the interim bed, the one he moved into when she died, the spare bed, the spare room, when we wondered why, he said
“because, in the big bed, I am lost, floating, all at sea…………rudderless”

We marveled at the poetry, coming unexpectedly from of such a prosaic man.
We didn’t know then that language, sense, meanings were unraveling, it was not just in bed that he was lost, floating, all at sea.

The photograph creased, handled, the paper softening, edges curling, placed, neatly in a box with everything else,

False teeth,
reading glasses, arms snapped, not needed on this voyage
key ring to a house, long gone to pay for this last bed
a copy of the racing post
three Christmas cards
a tube of smarties
2 lighters from before, before he forgot that he smoked, forgot how to smoke, forgot.

But the photograph, the girl, pretty, posing, poised,
No-body that we know
And too late to ask, not just by days, but years and years and years as he floated, compass broken, rudder snapped, captain at the helm as the ship went down

I fragment,
You fragment,
They fragment,
We all fragment.

But the photograph, important enough to move from home to homes to here carries some weight, some significance, some something,

So, we take it home and unsure of what to do, place it in the drawer beside the bed and sometimes wonder who and where and mostly why,

But generally, we forget.

About cathi rae

50ish teacher & aspiring writer and parent of a stroppy teenager and carer for a confused bedlington terrier and a small selection of horses who fail to shar emy dressage ambitions. Interested in contemporary fiction but find myself returning to PG Wodehouse when the chips are down View all posts by cathi rae

One response to “The photograph

  • Stephen Wright

    You told me yesterday that what you meant by flat writing, was to eek out all sentimentality and strive for emotional sparseness – this packed a real emotional charge; have I misunderstood you? – whatever, loved it, it will stay with me for a few days at least.

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