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Photograph of Susan Hampton by John Tranter. R18-8

Photograph of Susan Hampton, August 1981, by John Tranter. R18-8

Unruly

A girl in a loose dress sits on the roof. It is a summer night, and a high drift of cloud covers the sky with dispersed moonlight. Today she’s a girl, tomorrow, a woman. But which woman? Will she become a different person? And then, after all the pain and drama, the new friends and the old enemies, the love and the betrayal, what will happen to the girl she has to leave behind?
     She thinks of rules: writing them down, tearing them up.
     Outside the fence in the dark: movement, whispers.    
     All this is long ago.

Now there’s a hammering at the door. It’s the unwelcome future.
     We count the lost names, and bury them: one, two, three. We put the wedding ring in a tin. We untie the rope. We dip the piece of paper in a bath of bleach, and hang it up to dry. Now the page is empty, and we can write down the new names: one, two, three.
     On the back of the eyelids we project a holiday snap: a light blue sky, the sun dazzling the water, grass, the cries of children playing. The voices grow distant, and fade away.