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
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
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
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.