THIS SERMON

Chris R-0978 Image by Christine Renney

He is invested in the sermon but his words are not escaping so easily, each one an effort, a hard and misshapen memory. Thin and wasted, he is almost worn away and I cannot tell if he is young or old, if the deterioration has been quick or it has taken a lifetime.

I watch his mouth moving, his hands and arms flailing and I can see clearly how disjointed it has become, this diatribe of his. I do not need to hear. This sermon is scratched. It has lost its rhythm and its momentum.

GHOST LETTER 24

Chris R-0828

The litter strewn here has faded. I kick through it, the sweet wrappers and crushed cans. At the end of the street the trash has gathered in the entrance way to an abandoned shop. I step under the glass canopy and, crouching down, I start to sift through it.
I pick at the paper and cardboard, old crisp bags and cigarette packets and lots of little shiny sheaves that once contained chocolate bars. I recognise the names on the wrappers of course, although they haven’t been on my radar in a while. But now I remember all sorts of sweets, things I had forgotten; mints and chews and sugary pills.
Moving in a half crouch, I search through the rubbish at my feet for the packaging from these remembered confections and miraculously some of them are here.
I kick aside a newspaper and unearth a tiny cardboard tube. I pick it up. I had forgotten these particular sweets but now I remember. I peer into the cylinder but of course it is empty. I press it against my nose and inhale and I am almost sure I can smell them, that something remains, a residue. I poke my tongue to taste but I still can’t be certain.
If I can find the lid I can make use of this cylinder – stuff it with tobacco. And I begin to search for the little plastic stopper but it isn’t here.

Image by Christine Renney