A Different Country


Time is an illusion
so you read
in New Scientist magazine.
Forget about that chronological
timeline of history
we exist as plots on a map
exotic tourist destinations
each one of us.

And you believe it completely
without understanding
although rarely
do you so readily embrace
such questions of faith.

And suddenly things matter
that would never have mattered
if they had been trapped in the past.
Dead and buried. Literally.

Instead, they circle around you
like mourners at a funeral.
And so your story, your mother’s story
of which she never spoke
of which you would speak
from the inoculated isolation
of a different place in time
(L.P. Hartley told us the past was a different country
– now there was a bloke who could read a map)
will be nothing but a postcard
sent by you – that voyeuristic traveller
trampling roughshod
through a foreign country.

And because you are a believer
you know betrayal when
you see it marked on a map
in thick red pen.