It's hard to believe that I've known Anne
For so many years now. I met her when she
And Marianna were teens, awkward, defiant,
And in love, though I shouldn't even think it.
Then Anne had that phase where she swaggered--
There's no other word--and wore more masculine
Clothes, the ones Marianna so hated. And now,
At forty, she is settled in some ways, although,
Alas, not in others. Inheriting suited her, as travel
Always does, a way of taming that bold spirit.
This afternoon, she comes first to thank me,
For my help with Miss Walker, a fine young woman
Who is, like Anne, weak and strong in different ways.
"I was happy to help," I say, and I hope she knows,
Disregarding Marianna, I consider her to be family.
She tells me she recommended Miss Walker write
To me if she needs, that they'd promised not
To write each other, but that if Miss Walker did
Write to me, would I let her know, wherever
In the world she might be, in case she could help.
She gives me her itinerary, with dates and addresses.
I say, "There was a letter two weeks ago,
From her sister. Ann was worried it would be
Too cold in Inverness. I advised good nutrition
And giving the place a fair trial. But there was
No mention of seeking medical advice in Edinburgh."
Anne becomes agitated, using sharper gestures, words,
Looks of disgust as she describes the mother speaking
Quite openly about the family trying to get Ann
For the kin, to pay off debts. I calm her, saying,
"I only met her briefly, but she seems to have more
Backbone than people credit her with. So when do
You travel? Mariana will be delighted." She says,
She thought if they ever got together, finally,
The world might make sense. "Hasn't too much
Water passed under the bridge for that?"