Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The road back from Zeerust

Driving back from the wedding
of your university friend in Zeerust,
we ride over a dead animal.
The bones snap beneath the
rubber car tyres,
rattle away.
I am sure its spirit is still there,
looking out at us,
driving fast on a road through yellow grasses,
heads turned away.
The wheels spinning.
You try to make conversation,
I turn away.

Whipping past
endless miles of wire,
electric poles are blurred.
We pass grain silos in a row,
Cat Stevens plays on the radio.

I don't know what to say to you:
expectant, eager,
driving fast through this dusty, dry land
wanting to show me the town
where you went to university.
The heat catches on my thick jeans,
black shirt.
I look away from you,
from the night in Zeerust,
when, somehow, you stole me
- from myself, from the fierce, harsh
landscape, from my refusals
and my protests.
Your finger deep in me,
wanting sex.

In the morning I could not look at you.
You paid for our rooms,
and tried to walk with your arm around me.

We drove away from the dusky pink hotel
nestling against the dried heart of a hill.
I tried to accept your hand on my leg,
and the hard, gleaming sun,
the silos filled with food,
the love you wanted to give,
your hands on my soft belly
telling me I was beautiful.

I slunk deep into the leathered car seats.
The air conditioner could not blow away
the beginnings of summer,
love, dread, fear, your roaming hands
and my reticence couched
in the excuse that I had loved another man.
Steady on. Through summer, heat, dread, fear,
unnamed thoughts shifted between us
as you forced your way in,
stole through the night,
grasping me
with the tired eyes.
Wanting, wanting me as I held
you close and pulled away.

(Published in The fire in which we burn)

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