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Journey, 1999

by  Cat

Posted: Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Word Count: 208

Journey, 1999

seven of us in the back of a van,
on a wig-wearing, smoke-toking
summertime high
we drive all day for
all night dancing, fast fingers
on tablas, darabouka drums,
toes in wet grass and
the vast, vast sky
and by the fire you and I
skirt around our selves, skim
the surface of conversations
as we drink, then sink
into each other -
we’d waited years to kiss.

Then this –

Dinah joins me, says
‘someone’s tried to phone’
and down the line
my brother’s voice
a stranger’s, shaken
edgy, urging me come home.

For seven hours the train
takes me back across the country
the carriage fills, then empties,
fills, then empties
and trees blur to a
bleeding ink as I stare out
the summer and win.
All I can think -
'how numb I am, not knowing.'

Night-time hospital ward,
a world blue-lit and factual, still
my father’s breath fills the stubborn silence
close up he is distance magnified
and I am frightened, so
my mind makes him a fiction,
twists his face to a horror movie moment.
Sleepless, I leave
until morning comes when
he is Dad again, just old and ill and frail
and I am his youth, ripe with summer’s tales.