Last week, Veteran's Day, another eleven I love. And I like how it is done here, how weeks of reminding lead up to the big remembrance. At street corners and subway stops, next to the till, outside the bookshop, the grocers, the opera. Paper poppies in boxes, ten pence or ten pounds, paper poppies in boxes. Mine from the window overlooking the gardens at Kensington. I carry it home in cupped hands because I don't want to bend the petals. I wrap the stem in tape colored like the sky so that it stays close against the safety pin, so it lays flat above my heart. I pin it to my coat collar. I pin it to my shirt. I pin it to my sweater. Every day all week long I wear the poppy. Everyone is wearing poppies. Business men who get off at Bond Street wearing black, punky teenagers taking up too many seats at the back of the train, a wrinkled woman folding into a taxi cab, tiny children in mittens. Between trains we walk so quickly, going so many places. All of us and our poppies. Row on row.
We are the dead. In my head I hear words I learned a dozen years ago. I remember them all. I walk along the river after dark. I walk for miles.