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‘Forgive Yourself. And Forgive Me.’

Longreads

Alice Driver | Longreads | March 2018 | 10 minutes (2,574 words)

“I didn’t choose. I walked backwards till it came around front.” — Uncle Lee

I sipped my Uncle Lee’s favorite gin martini made bitter with the taste of three pearly onions at The Alley Cantina in Taos, New Mexico. The mother of my long-lost cousin Julianne stepped up to the microphone in front of the gathered crowd and told the story of their brief love affair and how Lee “loved women.” I’ve never been to a funeral like the ones on TV where you go to a cemetery and cry while watching a casket go into the ground. My family does these storytelling gatherings with food and drink, and we bask in the memory of the ones we loved in sharp and detailed pain and glory.

I didn’t know that Julianne existed until I was in my 20s…

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Walk

 

Walking, walking is what we did to arrive here.    Walking across the straits, with matted hair and sand grains in our eyes.  Running our fingers through wind tendrils and embracing the cool air.

 

 

 

Image: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/primaryhistory/indus_valley/land_of_the_indus/

 

Grandfather and the Giant

Yasmin Ward

Drax Mike Harry

Grandfather worked down the mines.  He was an electrical engineer.   During the war he tried to sign up.  He wanted to join the Royal Air Force more than owt.  But they said no because they needed engineers at home to keep things running.  Granddad was very upset.  He felt bad about it.  Mum says he never got over it, not really.

He rallied his BSA motorcycle.  He liked going fast and getting muddy.  He met Grandma in Sheffield.  She was working as a nurse at a hospital for the war-wounded, doing her bit, you know.

In the 1970s, a power station was built in a village called Drax in Yorkshire.  Today, it has a really tall concrete chimney 850 feet high and she is mother.  Sunshine stored in black rocks from Africa and Siberia trundles into the power house.  Twelve brothers, 374 feet tall and 300 feet wide, wear concrete-grey suits…

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To Polaris

PolarisNebula_mandel800

Polaris dust nebula

 

 

February afternoon

Azure eastern horizon

Four hundred and eighty two

Aluminium-encased

Celestially-bound bodies

Reflect solar rays on ascent

Into the stratosphere

Compress and combust

Rotate and thrust

Breach auditory peace

Of wood pigeon coo

Teeter precariously

On twig tips

Winter ornament

To Polaris

 

Image source: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap080111.html

Dream of flying away

I live in the 19th century in Victorian London.  The drawing room is crowded with men in top hats and coat tails.  There is a thick, smoky fug.  I am stifled.  I want to escape.  I sneak out of the back door and walk to the end of a long, thin, untidy garden.  I lift my layers of skirts and scale a metal fence; the like of which I have never seen before.  I jump from a height into a busy road. Every which way I turn there are motorised vehicles so I run.  I run and run down the road till air fills my mourning dress and lifts my feet and I am flying.  My flight is jerky and uncertain.  I’m worried my petticoats will get caught beneath angry wheels.  I try flying with one arm outstretched but two arms thrust forward gives me more power.  Yet I cannot gain enough height to stay above the bustle.

 

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Fleeing the past