• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 09

The 143

The figures leant in to each other
as the bus groaned through the city
and suddenly I saw it
from one mouth to the next like sap.
It was pouring all around me, then.
The clouds emptied their life’s work
and rinsed the trees, cleaned out the gutters.
Love is patting the graves
and putting out flung cigarettes, I thought.
Love is going down into the drains.
The homeless are turning up their heads to taste it.
As a child, I saw some
rising from the tarmac one day
in a bare McDonald’s carpark.
It steamed off the ground
the way I imagine it steamed off the streets of Pompeii,
the lovers in their beds.
I ran through that steam like Snow White’s step-mother
in those red-hot shoes,
the magic coursing through my veins
and out of my mouth in crazy giggles.
(Mum and Dad just shook their heads.)
And it was dribbling down the window, too,
leaving trails I wanted so desperately to follow.
The windscreen wipers squeaked, for love was blinding them,
and umbrellas bobbed along the streets
like brilliant mushrooms.