|Mark Prince was born in 1968 in Manchester. He lives in Berlin.
Mud bound with sawdust and engine oil
bevels out the pavement ridge. The blue
halflight is torchlit by diffusing jet trail.
What could not be trashed is compacted
into a rented 'people carrier': seven doors
and a barrelled trunk. A cigarette plumes
your breath's mist. I'm avoiding your averted
eyes. I try to unknot the tangled
tyre tread, woven with decorative patience
by lorries which made their own exit
at the overhead through road. Their roar, windborne,
buffeted the open-fronted solitary
phone box all winter, left it
unusable, except for emergencies.
Fumes of roasted sugar from the factory
mingle with the exhaust's first cough of sweet smoke.
Persistence having brought only this ultramarine glaze to the window,
snarls to the door, another drunken couple moonwalking over the stoop,
oblivious to what's above. How shoals rustle over, slip off into
transparency. Or shrill white. How the playground is flaunting its rubber foliage,
lush as the rhododendrons, heavy-headed, protecting detached houses
from unwanted scrutiny along the looped drive down which she ran,
holdall flapping at her side like a pathetic dog. All the hide and seekers had heeded
stern advice, gone into shelter to nurse their troubled consciences.
Entrenched nebulous sleeplessness. Evasions. Swallows glided.
The first grey dawnlight smokes them all out,
summarily. With the new birds and the gleam it feigns
benignity. But it is invasive, still as mist,
and then it is only one thing after another.
With effort, in flashes, in the evening it was
possible. She would even be visible as she had been.
Doubletake. A peeling away before the irresistible
words carry us forward. In a tick,
the dogwalkers have sidled up to the creaking fence.
I can hear their soles. The trees are flat
and opaque, like grand horses champing impatiently
at the heat. Riding their silhouette,
the reliable red pulse of the airport landing signal
has almost been doused.