Pat Winslow

You were waiting, listening to the shipping forecast. The general synopsis 
at o-seven-hundred. The truck was doing forty,  forty-five.
A pale boy with dreads stepped out, a small dog by his heels. 
The memory still stops you.
Low south Sweden one thousand and five.
You lit a cigarette and watched the crowd  appear.
An ant was crawling on your knee. You let it zigzag across the scar.
The laburnum dripped yellow dust on your windscreen. 
An ambulance arrived. Two women. Dykes.
You hadn't expected that. Slowly east with little  change.
Thundery trough expected Thames to Humber.
The traffic lights changed and changed back. 
When was the last time you saw that?
Two women. Some American cop show  perhaps. 
Not here. They lifted him up. You started the  wipers, 
thought of the barber's shop, the jar of blue  barbicide.
They climbed into the back. Him with his stob of cold cigar, 
jammed like a thumb, like an unsaid word. Gone  out. 
Why think of that now? Your father, 
bending over your blond head in his tiny shop. 
Viking. Your cut knee poking out from under the  cape, 
the metal comb flicking, his one towel does for  all. 
North Utsire, South Utsire. They shut the doors. 
One dyke inside with him, the other behind the  wheel. 
They drove away. Left you chewing a perfect  nail.
The dust was still falling. Fair Isle, Faeroes, South East Iceland.
The shipping forecast. That's how long it takes to see a doctor, to cross the car park.
For someone to pick up a blanket and collect the coins.
He got in. You threw your cigarette out of the window 
and lit two more. One for him. Drive, he said. His hands were shaking.
The dog was standing by the pool of blood.
No one would go near. Like that game - Last Look. 
One glance and you've got it. Or catching the bride's bouquet. 
You're next. Two minutes later you turned around, went back.
It hadn't moved. You picked it up and put it on his lap. 
You took his hand. Tomorrow, you said. And tomorrow. And tomorrow.

© Pat Winslow, 2002

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