"I know how, on the inside of my long, thin wrists,
The oils of lemon and verbena smell.
Where my bangles measure the days of exile,
And the English words you told me how to use
Turn in my mind like spokes in a wheel."
Her story came to me from your memory,
Drawn out through time, and from the order
Of words and places, shuffled like playing cards.
She says: " I have such clever hands.
And memories, that nudge and natter,
Of shopping precincts and motorways,
And swamps that steam in every heart."
What do you know of crocodiles?
Of the wisdom of crocodiles?
Of their hooded eyes, live and greedy,
But still as stones, and their sullen patience?
Questions is a collaboration by Lucy Kempton and Joe Hyam. Poems are based on questions drawn from an agreed starting question and formed by answers, which contain and inspire the next questions. In response to Lucy's first question, Joe kicks off. This follows our earlier work in Compasses, archived here, where Lucy's photographs illustrate Joe's series of 50 sonnets under the title Handbook for Explorers.