Enters her mind so it should mean something. It’s the same with ‘Perlman’ or Perelman. Her job is to delve. She knows ‘perel’ means pearl in Ashkenazi, but she wants more. It relates but it doesn’t. The ‘r’ rolls around her tongue and when she speaks it she makes with it two syllables not one: Perél. Goodman, Lipman: one or other or both was the first name should-have-been-surname of the grandfather she never knew. What she knows is he had a little dog with short legs and ran a pub in Leeds, plying his customers with salt-herring – not a pearl in sight. Then she sees the closeness to peril and wonders is she taking the wrong tack. A connection to music would be pleasing but what it is evades her. She is diligent. She is trustworthy. She takes care. Care where care calls for. If she thinks of it – and she never has – she is made of such a strange mixture it is hard to be sure of anything. One-minute this one-minute that, neither more desirable than the other. Whatever this is or that is pushes from inside. She would like some added information: an amendment, a summing up, a plan, a plot, a synopsis, bullet points, an abbreviation.

All this harping on and no potatoes and the broccoli gone rotten.

from Root (Shearsman Books 2011)