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the wandering jew

Zachary took hold of the spiderwort. The head. The very crown. Gently. He pulled long and evenly until the first long stem became four branches, and he pulled long and evenly until he had lifted up the very roots that sustained them. Showed it for all to see.

The spiderwort had grown up and through the centre of a clivia family he’d been asked to take up and move away. Soft and insistent, the wandering jew had wound its way all the way through. It grows in every season. When all else is without life in winter. It supports then smothers.

He took them all.

Zachary then liked to lay the taken spiderwort out into the hot sun. The driveway gravel today. Where it would shrivel into itself over the hours. Later, and before his day was over, he would gather up all the wandering jew he had uprooted and burned dry in the sun then immerse it into cold water. Where he would hold it down.

‘ Why do you think that they call it the wandering jew? ‘ he asked one afternoon. Asked this of anyone listening; all of us sitting around in the late afternoon heat, the day’s work done. All of us taking a long cold drink in the shade of an old Durobby.

He knew nobody would raise a response, and he was the oldest and the tiredest of us all that day. So he provided the answer – as we knew he would.

‘ Because no matter where you go, you will find him. ‘


written to ross edward’s da pacem domine symphony no 1

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