Night drive

The shudder always happens in my sleep.
Road signs, junctions, cat’s-eyes; pairs
of red squares in the night crawl closer.
A hypnotic hum of tyres on tarmac.

Never a hospital bed, never the blazing white
of surgery. Only a flickering of eyelids,
silent swish of metal, an exaggerated swerve
as brakes lock. An endlessly repeated motion

half a second before impact. Half a second
with the verge two yards too close,
the darkness two degrees too warm, the letters
on the tail-lights curiously readable.


This poem has also been published in Clear Poetry.