Blue irises

Dev’s failing eyes read the news on his phone. ‘I was painting blue irises in my garden this morning.’ And immediately he was there again, in the sunshine garden, watching her as she painted, her blue eyes fixed on the flowers, her back curved, her shape taut.

He blinked away the memory and focussed on the screen again. ‘I was planting blue irises in my garden this morning.’

It was not her, of course it was not. It was her daughter’s daughter in her red sweatshirt. It was the past now again in his present. As she had always been. And now, now, she was planting the bulbs for the future, the future he had hoped they would see.

Volare… Nel blu dipinto di blu…

I carried you inside me and now I carry the weight of your dreams on my shoulders. I shall not buckle. I shall not fall. They will not break me.

Dreams should be weightless, should be weight-free, should lift you up and take you onward, into the blue, into tomorrow. But as I sit and watch you sleep, on your mother’s young shoulders your dreams lie heavy.

And as I walk along the clifftop path, you sit on my shoulders singing Volare. (Sing, mummy, sing.) I can see the mountains of Albania beyond the blue, beyond the sea and the sky. Volare.