And on our irrelevant wedding day you weeded the path and a hedgehog came by. I watched through the window as you crouched there, wed and unwed, still as a photograph, the trowel forgotten in your hand, hair newly cut, a suit and tie behind the door. And someone said, why is he gardening now? I watched you, was as still as you, could hear you.
Later that morning we married, but not before my mad aunt had got lost in a car park and I had decided that I didn’t like my dress after all.
And the path neat as a pin, making me weep and making me weep.
I take off my rings, my bracelets, my watch. The clock does not strike the hour.
If this garden were mine, it would have this single dragline thread of spider silk rising free from the earth. Finer than human hair and more visible that this dial, this tree with its lime-coloured leaves. It draws my eye upwards along its unstill length. It sways, I sway. It splits the air, I step through.
The shadow on the dial moves back. What is this soft-remembered thing that creeps like ivy and pours like wine, that clings like sweetened glaze?
I could turn to see you waiting there. But I don’t know how long I will be.
The Old Testament story about the dial of Ahaz (Isa. 38.8) recounts how the shadow on the dial is turned back by ten degrees. This can be interpreted as a miracle or as the effect of parhelion or ‘mock sun’.