I plucked this photograph from the general memorabilia
of that age of mass trauma and shared history.
You in your Captain's uniform. Sombre, visibly apprehensive.
Billie, please don't enlist. From here, I see your future!
Your patriotism. That cropped hair, so immaculate in contrast to the later you I met in hell.
Nowadays, I keep your unsuspecting eyes in a special box,
as if to hide from them the devastating horrors to come.
Point of intersection: my bedroom. There, you collided with my brain,
releasing suppressed memories of a past life in which I was a young second lieutenant
you rescued from the Somme's carnage (minus my right arm).
In the casualty clearing station, you wiped the blood from my eyes
with such tenderness that I fell into an all-absorbing forbidden love
that turned my world upside down. But you were strictly heterosexual,
so I never dared reveal my feelings, just buried them deep inside.
Against impossible odds, we both survived that monstrous artillery. But you were broken.
After I left for Blighty, I never set eyes on you again - not in that life anyway.
Neither did I love again.
Your image possessed my heart and mind
so exclusively that I expired years later a lonely recluse.
But such longing does not die with carnal flesh.
I found no peace: not in the Light above, nor in the grave below.
Then Karma kicked in: I was re-born in female form.
And you came back, because those deep-seated taboos had vanished with my testosterone.
As I read your disembodied mind, I recognised what it was
I had seen in your eyes that day in war-torn France
but failed to understand at the time. A pure Love
that transcends gender and physical separation.
We are two halves of a single Spirit.
Today, I am your body.
You are my mind...
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
we will remember them.