My father’s roll of selotape
was slightly rippled, as if from the damp
and I couldn’t remember a time
when it had looked any different.
Although he used it, it never seemed to shrink.
One day he told me it had been in his possession
for twenty years,
thereby joining a reel of elastoplast
and a plethora of other items
for which he claimed two decades.
I had lived for less than half that period, and yet
my past was an indefinable eternity;
with markers where I had achieved so many things.
I had learned to read;
broken my ankle;
gashed my head open against a stone wall;
and climbed the singing tree,
to swing on a branch with my brother Neil.
I examined my father’s roll of selotape
and concentrated until my head hurt
in an effort to imagine any kind of existence
before my memory;
but all I could see was a blank, leaden space
with neither sun, moon or stars to brighten the sky.
©Jane Paterson Basil