we tried to get to there
we really did
but the motorway was shut
and we got royally stuck
in a tailback
that merged in turn
as a fucked zip
I watched the jam ahead
simmering into oblivion
the queue behind
slowly replacing the bones of my back
with a line of tiny replica cars
and a tiny replica me
hand to wheel, to brow, to wheel
(caption on box:
the man who missed the funeral)

‘There’s no way we’re gonna make it’
you said
calling ahead
‘Don’t worry’ you said
‘Lots of people are in the same boat’
I wish it had been a boat
we might have had some hope
of getting round
that unholy fuck-up

I wound the window down
breathed the sharp and careless air
and tried to think outside the bollocks

the pattern of shadows on that crash barrier
for instance
now – I wouldn’t have seen THAT
if there hadn’t been a diesel spillage
closing all three lanes
and diverting everything
through someone’s garden

I thought about you
how you took your coffee
how you used to smoke
screwing up your eyes
your head on one side
reaching for a tap of ash
like a declaration of victory
Cuss oukhtel hayat!
You tell me!
What CAN you make of it?
Apple pie?

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