"I like 'Whag-ner'" I say,
but: "Vhagg-ner' he corrects.
I stick my tongue through
the empty space where my two
front teeth used to be.
I follow the shadow of an orange cat
as he ducks under the ferns; his
tail is still wooly between my
I am laughing, soft toes buckling
under the jagged stones.
I am holding his hand; and he is studying me
(somewhere in the background, my mother
is painting her lips and the vinyl Vivaldi
is scratching in my ears.)
Somewhere inside myself, a teenage girl
is curling sticky limbs around herself and
reminding me to forget.
He says it was Isolde who rode the barge up
the river (that I look like her) and that my hands
held Tristan as he sucked in breath like smoke
To cry in German; Gaelic - to cry inwardly
He taught me the meaning of my name.