Her little finger trapped in a car door
when she was three years old,
stained the beige suede
of the customised Bentley.
evoking her father’s disgust.
The mangled digit, preserved in formaldehyde
became her loyal companion, one step up
from an imaginary friend.
Its messages were indirect: ask it a question
and it would turn slowly
revolving in its pickle jar like a mutant fish
until it settled in a particular direction.
Sometimes she took this as a no,
Sometimes a yes.
When more intricate advice was called for
she’d remove the lid, insert one perfect hand,
grasp the squirming thing like a flesh pencil,
dip it in ink. Let it write instructions
on an A3 sheet. All advice, she followed
to the letter: homework, helpful hints
on how to dress. What strategies
can mend a broken heart.
Her mother’s disappearance was a mystery.
Although there was no love lost, still
she felt the need to settle her unease.
The accusing finger showed her where
the evidence was buried and who
had mud on his boots. Her father
took the clichéd course, with
some assistance on the trigger.
Now all is well. They winter in St Lucia
spend the summers motoring abroad.
She drives the Bentley, whilst her companion
map reads, indicates the finest of the views.