I met my dead grandmother only once.
It was twelve days before I was born.
My father's sister, on the other side of the world,
in the house at Christchurch, had a dream:
it was not one of those dreams
where you can safely say it's the mind letting off steam
kicking the day's scenes around like a football in the yard.
No, it was more like one of those dreams
the Egyptians might link to your secret name:
my aunt saw me, newborn, like a Kubrick starchild,
in a darkened room. In the main bed her mother lay,
her eyes flickering as the candles dimmed.
I wouldn't think to mention it, but it was the night she died.
I never found out which room this meeting took place in:
whether it was Christchurch in the hour before dawn,
or a quilt of farm rooms patched together from years earlier
in Clogher; I always see something like a film set,
a long take the way Tarkovsky does them:
the slow dimming of light, and then its mysterious raising,
like a silent guest in those seldom visited upstairs rooms
who had not come from Fivelmiletown
or the North Island with news, but that place
where you imagine the ladies of the lake,
where something you cannot describe is born.