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Writing - Becky Bishop-Ashton

Illustration - Yizhi Liu

Time seems to have abated

Its endless plod

For a brief instant,

and I am waterlogged,

Stagnating in this moment.

The road is still ahead of me,

And the heavy sun sinks

Into the horizon, drowned by

The weight of its duty to


Over and over it must climb

Up and up to hold court and gaze down


And now her orange plumes

Make the tarmac into an oil slick, which cuts

A trench through the rolling hills of

This idyll, scattered with village, discarded ways of life.

I am six again and you are at the wheel now,

And it is the first time I have seen you

This week.

You collected me from school

And I am so happy.

It wasn’t your work, I later found out,

Which kept you from me.

Your gold teeth glint in the embers of the October sun

As you chuckle at my recounting

Of the adventure I had that day.

We had done measuring.

Learning how water is heavy, and what a millilitre is.

You had been at your other house, probably.

With your other family, I suppose.

Every time I think of you not with me, I imagine you were with one of them.

Maybe you were chuckling at my naivety.

Maybe you were genuinely amused.

The thing is, I cannot ask you,

I can’t know what was going through your head,

If anything was going through that head

With its thick black hair which stood straight up

And those expressive eyebrows and sparkling eyes

And that grin which glinted with those

Gold teeth.

The oil slick is sparking rainbows

As I skate along it’s smooth long

Curves which ebb and flow

And it is so peaceful.

I’ve never been alone here before,

In the light of the setting October

Sun which sets the hills on

Fire. I want to put it out.

I tried to find you, in so many smiles

And sparkling eyes.

I wanted to become ephemeral,

They diminished me.

I sought you and I found a short,

Sweet spark of the pain you

Left me with when I was with them.

I want to close my eyes

And disappear.

This streak of ink slashed across

My past can carry me and maybe it will be peaceful.

But I am scared of not feeling this pain

Which reminds me that I am here.

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