Today, in Hyde Park,
I stopped to sit at a bench dedicated
(in loving memory)
to a woman whose name I don’t remember.
The placard said she had liked to sit
precisely at that
– spot –
close enough to the Serpentine’s ducks
for bread (often stolen)
by otherwise well-behaved dogs
temporarily forgotten by their sunbathing owners.
As I pulled my knees up to my chest,
I thought, quite warmly –
Perhaps I would have liked her, perhaps she preferred to feed the squirrels, maybe she wished she had studied art, and drank her way through four pints of beer after her first day as a teacher in an evening school for working women. Perhaps she didn’t (couldn’t?) fall in love – there was no time for this anyway – but maybe she would have paused, for a second too long, at a flyer on the footpath that announced, An Invitation to See Things Differently. Perhaps she sat here like me, with her mother’s letters, watching Wellington the German Shepherd bounding at Mute Swans and Gadwalls, wishing that today, ten years later, they might also say something.