In the middle of this the course of our life, I stopped
& everybody got out of their car.
The crickets roared. Wind farm sliced up blue in chorus,
like syncopated swimmers, all muscle blade & grace.
Young biker soft-shouldered with his leathers off. No ass to speak of
& not much of a face. He whispered of the car on fire ahead,
all reverent, & said:
You can even see it, just up there.
I walk the broken line like I once walked into the bar,
right down the middle, toes out, & I flashed my brights
at all the girls & boys. Kids, I was gorgeous,
I mean drop dead & I knew it too;
it was all I knew, & not much else. But I was full of speed,
driven by longing for whatever felt like life, or fire,
or a ride out of town into nothing, nothing. & I thought, back then,
that people staring meant desire.
Years pass. & when at last I let the bleach grow out,
I see that my hair has turned grey. An hour or two goes by.
Frosted tips in the camper van tut tuts on the shoulder.
Parched mouth poppies tongue the verge.
Quiet of afternoon except for the rumours, the distant siren,
& breathing gentle fire, the empty car.
When we all drove past
in single file, we marvelled as it burned.
What damage. What elegance.
What happened? What happened here?
Photograph © Dennis Schnieber