Half Way Through March
I find it’s six years since I saw you
at St Peter’s school. I sat near the front,
you wore a crimson jumper – red your favourite
colour, I think. I didn’t really want to ask
a question at the end, rather to tell you
I was re-reading all your novels in the order
they were written. Not only yourself
but the interviewer too were taken aback
when I did, by way of introduction to asking
if you planned for your characters to reappear
in later works, or whether it just happened.
I’d taken a break from writing myself,
never thought to ask if you’d written
any poetry, but you found occasion
to say you had not. Your plays
which I hadn’t known existed, you told us
were soon to be published. Not for the first time
you signed my copy of one of your books,
not your latest one, which I didn’t buy there,
nor the previous time I’d heard you speak
at Scarborough library, though maybe
I gave you that impression when I reminded
you of the event, when The Pattern in the Carpet
was your latest, that you had talked about it then.
A pleasant place, Scarborough you said,
or something like that, as you held
your black pen, then returned to your
paper plate of buffet food, your goblet of water.
I never imagined that in just over a year,
I would read of the death of your daughter.