How on earth did it happen, I used to wonder that a whole city—arches, pillars, colonnades, not to mention vehicles and animals—had all one fine day gone under? I mean, I said to myself, the world was small then. Surely a great city must have been missed? I miss our old city — white pepper, white pudding, you and I meeting under fanlights and low skies to go home in it. Maybe what really happened is this: the old fable-makers searched hard for a word to convey that what is gone is gone forever and never found it. And so, in the best traditions of where we come from, they gave their sorrow a name and drowned it.
Sex and history. And skin and bone.
And the oppression of Sunday afternoon.
Bells called the faithful to devotion.
I was still at school and on my own.
And walked and walked and sheltered from the rain.
The patriot was made of drenched stone.
His lips were still speaking. The gun
he held had just killed someone.
I looked up. And looked at him again.
He stared past me without recognition.
I moved my lips and wondered how the rain
would taste if my tongue were made of stone.
And wished it was. And whispered so that no one
could hear it but him. Make me a heroine.