Find someone like yourself. Find others.
Agree you will never desert each other.
— Adrienne Rich, ‘Yom Kippur 1984’
It is two o’clock in the morning. I am reading poetry and drinking. My man is drinking alongside me and playing his records—glossy discs heat-pressed and read by a needle, an anachronism in our time. Thirty- five years ago today my friend was born, later to give life to two who will become women in their own right. I have made us cocktails: aniseed and blackcurrant with smoky bourbon; orange peel, cognac and brown sugar. A voice like cracked pepper—barley as fine as seed pearls slipping through my fingers. Earlier we watched larger- than-life bees circle on screen and the age-old wrestle between logic and emotion, truth and fiction. He was so tired he slept through most of the movie—asking me afterwards What was it about? I said: the sun; a man and his regrets; a plant and its roots; a train and a woman… The music—my words on this page— A man and his woman, this persistent beat, these half-sounds I utter under my breath—