For one moment
I didn’t recognise the hand
that crushed the empty packet.
The brass ring was there
with my father’s initials etched
by his own, but there was a new map too –
as if someone had x-rayed a leaf
or tried to freeze-frame tideline ripples
or a mudbank’s rivulet crevices.
The vegetable age
has been doing its work
leaving me silly and surprised
at its defining marks –
half a century on, with skin
becoming tough and creased
as a gourd’s – now having to admit
that I know nothing so badly
as the back of my own hand.
Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips