The permanent crisis of loving her

At some point in the last two years of her life

I narrowly avoided a collision

with the actress Charlotte Coleman. I’d seen her

as a child in the series Worzel Gummidge

then later, as an adult, in the TV


adaptation of Jeanette Winterson’s first

novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit;

the closest I ever came to a woman

I didn’t know but had made a heroine.

She stares at me now from a DVD case:


kooky, pale and marmalade-haired, like the girl

I still dream I’ll bump into, fall in love with;

the one whose passing you never get over.

The one of whose life a childhood sweetheart speaks

as the permanent crisis of loving her.