Night Drive North

Only the occasional dazzle-beam from behind

as drivers chuck themselves into my mirror -

stretching streamlined metal to get somewhere yesterday.

I am content to coast

within sight of a night-grey sea,

well within my firing engine’s strength.

Smooth-cruising in gliding darkness,

the shadows in my eyes are car-defined,

picked out by pale underlighting.

Strange that a shadow can be filtered,

strained from the mind by mere motorway signs.

And yet this is how it works

in skimming progress up the tarmac river.

With each passing junction,

each town-named tributary marker,

shadows are snagged in the blue-and-white,

caught irrevocably between steel posts,

sieved out of mind in overhead lane-definers.

Driving this way in daylight

I have witnessed these same shades,

fossiling and hardening on the cold-shoulder.

By the time dawn ink-drains the darkness

my eyes are no longer dashboard-lit

and shadows of day need no leaving behind.

This time the sun hurls itself at my mirror.