The scandalous mathematics of grace

Susan Howard lives in the countryside north of Auckland. She writes about what affects her and what she observes in NZ and on the world stage. She has been published in NZ and overseas, most recently in Takahe magazine (NZ) , and the online publication, A Shot Glass Journal (USA).


I never go over to Eastbourne without remembering our English mistress at grammar 
school. She used to love reading Katherine Mansfield out loud to the third form class, 

tipping precariously back in her chair, crossed feet on the desk, relishing Kezia’s 
attitude to life in her own peculiar way. Listening to her, we could imagine ourselves 

spending genteel afternoons in the garden, drinking home -made lemonade, served with 
fresh slices of lemon and a floating island of ice, then tip-toeing down the wide cool dark

 hallway, for an afternoon nap. We couldn’t quite comprehend the reason for Linda’s
 cool boredom and determined indifference towards her children, and we waited with 

bated breath for Stanley Burnell to come home from work, to be met at the door by an
exasperated Aunt Beryl. In those days, when you went on holiday you caught the ferry 

across the harbour. Now, we go there for a day trip, and spend time fossicking through 
the shops. That’s where we picked up those quaint wooden latticed placemats, remember? 


You may wonder if there is any point
in turning up early. 
If you stand around long enough,

he’ll touch your sinner’s heart with 
an offer too good to refuse. 
There’s something to be said for 

taking up the option early,
but the grace must be catching.
If you grumble you haven’t understood.


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