This article is taken from Stand 235, 20(3) September - December 2022.

Mary Michaels Space, Time
Unsun. Unwarmth. Unweather continues.

Some people live in this permanent fog. Like a bowl or a drum, it comes down on you. Frost flowers form on the car windscreen. A snow plough patrols, backwards and forwards.

Daybreak. I peel a pear – from calix to pedicel. Variety: Conference. Origin: Belgium, where its progenitor Leon Leclerc de Laval was grafted. Grown in a polytunnel. Unnatural.

Fruit in my left, peeler in the right, I must first make a nick with the rather blunt blade, then pull smoothly downwards, while turning it round, to lift away the skin, denuding it in strips.

A nasty experience. It was in childhood but decades later she still hesitates to put it down on paper, even to pronounce it.

The past haunts the present – the dread, the foreboding, spreads like a contagion. The memory of something that took place in a room makes her fear that whole building and the street that it’s on; the name of the street and street-signs in general; the postcode that forms part of the address; the radius of hm hm hm; the numbers of the buses whose routes she knows run through that part of town. The digits X and X. The verb in the present tense. The past tense, the past … the bully leaning over her.

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