:We’re going east:she said:towards the rising sun:red haze at the motorway’s end blurs early sky to asphalt grey. Motor hums, the brackish smell of a sea near unseen. Hand on steering wheel. Hand on gears. She steers. :Why east:I said:the light will hurt eyes sting:I said:yellow around red into clouds climbs. Crunch gears, wind louder, harder, through part cracked window. Brackish smell and exhaust. :The way we’re going:she said:Worried? Here:hand from gear hand to mine, squeeze:always here:she said.


Windswept in through open door, always ajar, never closed, dirt and needles for floor and a body (going cold) she asked what to do, run I said, run, but take it running or someone may see. Heavier than it looked we part drag we part carry to the car and -dropping keys once twice- into boot and run. Sit in silence. Radio on. Radio off. Streets are empty. Police car. Quick drive slow. Drive like there’s no body in the boot. Must be almost cold by now.


:My fault:I said:Should have known:I said:My fault:pull hand away, rub red eyes, sigh. Black stars fade into yellow dawn, sound of surf nearer, chasing along the grey/black stone sliver of road. :No:she said:no one’s fault, we couldn’t know:she said:faster, faster towards remains of night. Boot body weighing heavy now. Sound of struggle, can’t be real, banging, moaning. :Is that:I said:It isn’t:she said:But what:I said:It isn’t:she said:sit in silence not listening to no sounds.


Drums and drums, shouting to be heard, shouting to laugh. Only three, the rest long gone as Sunday comes. White striped mirror and an ashtray overflow, a flood of ash and butts and beer. Time stretched and snapped, who noticed first, that three were two? How long, a quest, adventure, find the missing one blue on bathroom floor. Ask for help, she’s shaking shocked silence. Ask for help, get him outside, get him help, ask for help.


:Quiet now:she said:Imagined it:she said:Hand to mine, squeeze, look across smile. Radio on. Volume up songs about love. Something strange, something with a guitar. :I love you:I said:I’m sorry:I said:My fault:I said:horizon nears blue fading back through yellow red to black. Other roads no roads. Dim water wall rising from horizon. Unclear as black night. Sigh rushing to roar. :Always this:she said:Had to be:I said:Hold me:she said:Always:wave hits, car spins, hold on.


‘East’ appears in my chapbook We are the Makers of Maps
available on Amazon (UK, USA)
Makers of Maps Cover v23