The Barrow, the Nore and the Suir. Three rivers. Sister rivers. I remember. Three coins in a fountain. Gallia in tres partes divisa est. A new fountain pen for Christmas. Father was proud of my best copperplate. Miss Quiller pointing to the blackboard. Speak up, child. I emancipated the slaves. Who am I?
What is this place? Why are my hands so mottled?
Those children slouch and mumble. They appear to be lost. Speak up, child; who am I? I do not understand what they are saying. That woman has no control over them. Belfast was known for linen and shipbuilding. I wish she wouldn’t grasp my hand so. She mistakes me for someone else. She seems a little unstable. Like that woman in the bathroom with the bedraggled hair. She should tie it up.
I can taste salt. Tomorrow I shall gallop across the sands on Reuben. My hair will unfurl behind me; my skirts will billow in the wind. Mens sana in corpore sano. Mother will chide me for being unladylike. For wearing my hair untied.
I do not know this room.
Breathe. One, two. In Mississippi, out Mississippi.
I remember my bookshelf. Huckleberry Finn and Shelley. “O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being.” That is Shelley’s most famous opening line.
She sells sea shells on the sea shore. Reuben is a joy to ride now that he has been brought to bridle. Was I unbridled? But Aunt Kitty presented me. How odd to think one would be among the last of the debutants. The newspapers blame it on the Suez business. Be precise, child. Yes, Miss Quiller. 1958, Miss Quiller. My duchesse silk gown is coral pink with side panels of ruching and unique pearl embroidery on the bodice. It was a triumph. Mother would have loved it.
Aunt Kitty knew W. B. Yeats. Or so she said. He used to come to her salons.
So she said. She said he was a womanizer. She always wore a cameo brooch. There was a strand of hair on the inside of the brooch. From one of her lovers. Did it belong to Yeats?
My arm is bruised. Syringes. I want to go home. Who am I?
Home is where the heart is. Sisters at heart. Three sisters. Rivers. Who am I?
Of course. Abraham Lincoln. I remember. The 5th of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot. I remember.