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Girl with a Smile

The first real recollection

Is the smile on her face
In the final year class
Of ninety-eight.
A year of decision.
One where my vision
Was selfish to self.
And would have been
One to regret.
If she’d chosen just to follow the sun.
The chance to redeem
Came first in a letter.
And next when I saw
The same smiling face
Looking up from a bench
On the campus of Tuks,
In two thousand and two.
First came her obstinate choice
For a ‘lucky-packet’ of topics.
Thankfully, and eventually,
She elected to supplicate
By dissertation alone.
So it’s lucky for me
A chance to engage
As I should’ve
Had things been different
In ninety-eight. [10]

Now in my role of supporter

I could meet and debate
Matters related to the patterns of Jewry
With the woman who had
A smile on her face
In the final year class
Of ninety-eight.
It had to be trust, and a mutual one.
As I knew little to nothing
About life in the Pale,
Baltic departures,
And subsidized passages
To Cape Town of those
En route to the Rand.
And neither knew awt
Of the spatial patterns
That Jewry had stamped on the City of Gold.

Just as miners before her

Had to seek a promising site
To dig for the payable gold,
She too had to search depositories
Where the patterns sought
Were uncovered by the one with a smile
In the class of ninety-eight.

Draft after draft,

And month after month,
We met in a house where
Unknownst to us both
Death was already smousing around.
As she wrestled with data,
And polished her verbs,
She inevitably met and observed
Pat and her losing battle ’gainst malignant cells.
Then came a sort of reversal of roles.

Mine, mundane, was academic support

Whilst with the smile from ninety-eight
She constantly boosted morale.
Then polished and bound
The dissertation’s delivered,
Examined, and awarded distinction.
But my Pat suffered and died.

Yet constantly in the dark, sad days
T’was the student who assumed
The comforter role with frequent visits,
Telephone calls, and even dog-sitting
When we scattered Pat’s ashes.
She constantly raises my spirits.
A true friend, who chose
Not to just follow the sun.
Her’s is still that smiling face
From the class of ninety-eight.

Keith Beavon