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The Warp

That dry summer

That Dry Summer

There you are suddenly

having erupted down from a hedge

somewhere beside the A4912

for luggage 12 LPs

and a sleeping bag

having nearly

capsized yourself

standing akimbo

by the road

smell of hay

smell of tarmac

hard on my brakes

screech of tyres behind

you’ve bounced into

the car seat beside me

and on we drive

passing through fields

rich with the smell

of evening hay

there was little water

that summer I remember

many of the fields dry


someone was dying

who was it?

O yes, Phillip,

dear once friend

he once so powerful,

so attractive,

so unreasonable

dying in a room far away

I’d come down to take

care of the children

while their mother tended him

you giving the

hitchhiking sign

clutching your LPs

under a hedge

by the road

somewhere in the West Country

always unheard, unseen

but always present

a room filled with flowers

Phillip, dying.

There was death

in your life too,

I remember

a tale of horses,

a race horse owner

you worked for him as a stable girl.

A horse was dying


before a race.

Another horse

had been substituted

while this one was

kept in a field

in a shed far away.

You told the police

got him in the shit

he gave you your cards –

And always, unheard, unseen in my head

a room filled with flowers

Phillip, dying, dead,

and you so full of life.

And there was some other story too

wasn’t there?

how you had been

till last week

going out with a dope dealer

how the law arrived

you leaped from the window at the back

with the stash

fractured your arm –

and were caught

as you ran down the street

and later escaped

but still they wanted you.

Which happened first

before we met?

I forget now

Or maybe I never

sorted it out

You giving the hitchhiking sign

clutching your LPs

beside a hedge

somewhere in the West Country.

Why not go down the quiet country lanes

why not go down to the edge of the sea

why not why not?

there was no water that summer

I remember

It was the dry summer

cool to get down to the end of the pier

the sea ferocious turbulent,

one of us had a cough I remember

was it you? was it me?

the wind blowing shrill around us

water tossing

and back to a pub

because we had

turned off my route,

your route,

our route

the children have been

settled down in the kitchen

cooking the dinner

I’d do it for them’ you said

only I’m not domesticated’

we upstairs

put a record

on the stereo

now you lying on the bed

I caressing you

you say ‘I’d like to make love

with you

but I’ve got my period’

a towel

you dreamy

as if not there

listening to the music

and when it’s finished

under your white limbs

a red mass of blood

on the towel

and you saying

what a lovely place


it feels like fairyland’

downstairs again

to help the children

make their dinner

they telly-bound

have burnt it

we make love

again and then

looking at

each other before

lights out ask

why did we meet

beside that road?

fate’s strange

isn’t it

why you?

why me?

why us?

And that’s the end of it really

but still now I

think back sometimes

to that silver

night when we

were in a tent

by the sea and

loved each other

so much that we

ended up rolling out

under the bottom

of the tent

amid the dew-covered grass

in the starlit darkness

the mist-filled




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