God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December
J. M. Barrie.
The paint’s flaking off the door and stained with marmalade rust,
and I climb in as the sun splays its fingertips through the tall grass
while the prairie sings ‘time isn’t real here.’ The truck’s baking in July sweat
as we pull up at the four way stop – there’s that waitress, puffing away
under the neon sign of Joe’s, the one who gives us free coffee.
No time today. The clock on the dashboard reads 15.04 – funny
because we met April 15th. We pass your old house, bleached shutters
blocking the room we made love in end to end during those dog days
naked and damp while headlights crossed the walls. Seven hundred yards
down Milestone Boulevard we park up and climb onto the bonnet,
pressing cold cans of cola to our cheeks – feels like you could make the sky
move if you wanted. So, he says. So, I say. I turn back towards the road
and it’s gone, melted into orange peel eventide. You’ve worn it away –
he wears that easy grin but his eyes are sad. End of the road kiddo,
he brushes a thumb over my collarbone. Look, he points to the distance.
All of that’s waiting for you. Eyes flicker over mini castles trying to kiss
the horizon. The sun’s fallen asleep and blue petals fall as the stars start singing
to us. He sighs – take my keys, you gotta go. So I get in and roll down
the window, the breeze tastes like Sunday hymns. He knows I won’t,
so he leans in and starts the truck, do you remember what
Pan said to Wendy he asks? He knows I do, I love that book.
I nod and he steps back from the truck – I’ll be waiting he says,
in that place between sleeping and waking. That’s where I’ll love you and that’s where I’ll
be. I shift into first and switch on the radio. The skyline weeps on his shoulders
as I lift my foot off the clutch and my lips mouth ‘I love you.’
Second star to the right and straight on till morning.
— Harriet Selina