Stranded

Image: Laurie Wiegler with her mother, Kathleen Leonard
Image: Laurie Wiegler with her mother, Kathleen Leonard

This is where Samuel Johnson first inspired me

Where I discovered the Queen Victoria statue unexpectedly

Devoured small tuna sandwiches with cucumber

And realized one night, mournfully, I was too old to join the fun at the pub.

It’s where I left my laptop at a café while eating lunch one day,

Scurrying back to find they had it behind the counter.

Another time my mother and I had fought over the phone,

Thousands of miles apart,

And I had to be asked to quiet down. I was in the Student Union

Or whatever it’s called, in a building that has since gone defunct.

Those screaming matches with Mom,

Like the one from outside Maughan as I was researching

My thesis in June 2018, left me trembling.

But other times she drank in the ambiance all around me,

The sounds of taxis and ships on the Thames, heard from that

Pigeon-stained stretch of concrete across from Temple tube.

 

The Strand –

Where I would meet the journalist I’d known since 2008,

Under different circumstances than intended. Months earlier

We’d had tea at the newspaper and discussed my impending grades;

Today he would console me over strong coffee at Press.

 

The Strand –

A proxy for Mom, who died so unexpectedly August 22, 2018,

And left me trembling in the rain

Clinging to my statues and idols,

And understanding King George III and his grief

All the more.

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