I introduced myself as Rachel to a stranger
at the library, when we reached for the same copy
of The New Encyclopedia of Birds. I apologised
in a way Rachel would have apologised: prone
to genuflection. I let him take the book and wedge it
under his armpit so he could bend for his umbrella
just as I was telling him my name was Rachel,
but he turned and headed for the Loans desk. I decided
that as Rachel, I wasn’t interested in birds after all,
and anyway, I didn’t have a library card signed by Rachel
in black felt-pen, so I hit the big, circular button with a picture
of a wheelchair on it, and waited for the doors to open fully.
I walked around the town, in rain that fell as if it was undecided
about its volume. Scant bursts would be the best way
to describe it, had someone telephoned, and after I’d said
Hello, this is Rachel speaking, told them about the weather.