Icy evening, drunk but not too drunk,
a blur of lights round Hollingworth, where blue
unhappy boats skim the winter lake.
Your breath gleams up the window of your
unkempt Volvo estate, the dark red hulk,
snug vessel which covered our childhood miles,
expanses doled out in weekend tropes:
car-boot sales, bacon-sausage-egg,
scalds of tea in Styrofoam and
fish fried in brown batter.
The coruscating iron of time
well spent. It did quarter of a million
before it got to us, the dashboard lit
by other lives carried in long numbers.
One gin, three whiskeys, and the rest,
a spray of snow irks you with a skid and
now suddenly you’re liquid — all surface
and give. It is too late for me to whisper
drive slow— mercurial, wax-winged you slip
in mixed myth, leafless crack of black branches,
split of frost-spun twigs, even now
the correctness of their frailty is not
wasted on you. Dark red and unkempt you
clap down deep in the Calder, bothersome
sirens whir with distance, blue unhappy
sounds demanding explanation.
The wet scarp sludged with wheel ruts,
what luck! To find yourself in these
unlikely waters, skull-dizzy,
wounded and water-logged. On reflection
there’s blood, coins, a broken mobile phone:
your pockets tell you that you will be out late.
Stuck amid the mud, the creeping
maroon, you feel relief, the lost weight
of not having to go one single mile more.



Daniel Fraser is a writer from Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. His work has featured in the LA Review of Books, Gorse, Mute, Music and Literature, and 3AMMagazine among others. Find him on Twitter @oubliette_mag.