Message of a name
by Bethany Rivers

Nightmare shaken
I spring from bed
stretch out to the shelf

for the one book you left
me with
your palm-sized

red-leather dictionary
of 1954
clumsy fingers flicking


the dictionary still
full of words
I can’t speak

or understand
flick flick flicking through
till I come

to the right page
the page that still holds
the ink and the breath of you

twenty-seven years of missing you
has not
erased the blue capitals

your right hand moved in
translating thought into movement
into solid evidence

still there
still here
the name you had written

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My dad’s dictionary.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The dictionary mentioned is one that once belonged to my dad. It’s pretty much the only thing I have left of his. He died when I was very young. I had a nightmare where the words of the dictionary disappeared. In the spot e he had written his name, the letters had faded to a smudge. I was so shaken by this, I immediately had to go to the book itself and check that the words and his writing was still there.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bethany Rivers’ debut pamphlet, Off the wall, was issued by Indigo Dreams Publishing, in July 2016. She has been widely published, with work included in Envoi, Cinnamon Press, Sarasvati, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Clear Poetry, Obsessed with Pipework. The Ofi Press, The Lampeter Review, Bare Fiction, Blithe Spirit, and many others. Bethany mentors writers through writing novels and memoir. She has taught creative writing for 10 years and runs poetry healing and inspiration days. Visit her website at www.writingyourvoice.org.uk.