Skip to content
Give readers a window on the world. Click to donate.
from the September 2005 issue


Remember the very first time you did it
tough wasn't the word. Turning the key, a sudden
boardful of lights and music swelling behind
our backs and acts of attention, you'd think
the clothes would be off in a minute.
Well, it's no joke, gunning it close to ninety
nine round and round the hotel garage.
You might have been led by the nose with a knife.

With a razor raising a hair on your
throat, let me have a go, I'm good at feeling
my way in the dark. What a shambles:
our truth was so barely true
we hunted a slightly variant truth
in a toy-in its cogs and springs, so easy
to undo, but murder to stick together again.

And life now is more like when you leave
the shelter after a night raid.
Dust has settled, you wipe red eyes
and the driver's smile in his view-finding mirror
is trained upon us like a valediction.
It's your neck and mine. The wheel is whirring
like a hand-held propeller, freezing the image

in a videotape of that action movie
they never took us to watch in school.
Remember the faces arranged into smiles,
hair brushed by the wind?
In the blink of an eye, pain
turns it to jelly, and you chew your lips,
mouths are twisted by moans, smiles are
fizzing like sparklers.

The oceans are explained under separate cover.

For the next poem in this sequence, click here.

Read more from the September 2005 issue
Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.