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by Kate Thompson

Beneath the full moon
Along country roads with no headlights
The landscape dreaming around us
My father and I.

My father and I
On daylight roads.
I cling to my seat as the car wavers.
His head is turned away,
Watching birds.

Watching birds
From a hot, red wall.
Green birds in a troupe,
Gymnasts of the air.
I didn’t know that they could fly.

I didn’t know that they could fly.
Great black beetles like bullets
Cracking off the walls,
Crackling in the candle-flame.
I pull the sheet over my head,
Shivers in my spine.

Shivers in my spine.
A dark shape beside the road,
An old man, struck down there.
Or worse, waiting.
I have to pass, and I do,
A rock playing charades
Beneath the full moon.


Taken from ‘Roughly Speaking’ (1991), page 7.

Kate Thompson

The Ass