Letter to My Nephew, on rivers and tables

by | Apr 17, 2023 | Contemporary Epistolary Forms Day 2

[Some context: following the release of the UK from EU regulations on pollution, the countries’ rivers were immediately abused.]

The tabletop surfaces shrink. My brother likely sets a level place for you, cutlery hot off the cast. Let this assertion of reduction just be a stray drink ring in the corner for you. I hope you’ll scratch at it when you’re distracted. You might come to suppose that what you’re drawn from in that moment cuts a vivid relief of what I mean: that tabletop surfaces shrink. The day-to-day glosses covered for us before, with carpet-crinkled papers and chalk on the tarmac running through our rivers at a constant and barely-tended slosh. Tired, ambling, staring down at the rainbow-basted surface of the Avon, I note the surprise before the half-smile of recognition on my lips, reflection torn; faceless. The flotsam burbled and the currents span their drift. When your dad was younger we walked the same route along it, ate at the same desk. Our father had lost his implements, but your dad and I shared. One day I went searching for his side of the desk, trying to broach the mediating figurines and installation screens between us. There along the un-bevelled plasterboard bank of the desk was his surface: a trio of pliers, shears and electrical tape sloped over a soon-to-be-neglected guitar lead, its mended kinks and breaks bandaged in a dissonant festive green. Every other scrap beside was covering the plain. With a tilt of the head it all looked like a tangle of black-green hair, mismatching ribbons slack; the body was a rich collage, the face only a dot.

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