Drink Driving (Susan Austin)

Posted on January 8, 2013 by in Heightened Talk

dusty dashboard.
He pauses to belch before worming
the key into the ignition.
Outside the pub they stumbled
into stained bucket-seat relief –
escaped provocations,
skins safe against seats.
Two years they’ve been going there,
every Saturday night,
still he stirs up trouble.

Now the highway –
relief has long since sped away.
He fumbles to change the station to classic hits.
Her vodka-softened eyes camp on the ripped vinyl window-frame,
taking in the dim-lit road, lightly wet
the white lines that appear, disappear
the forested edges that come close before swerving away.

A moment of lurching light-pole fear.
He doesn’t notice her jump
but grips the wheel, straightening up,
frowning with the effort to focus.
She clutches her seat-belt and thinks
about self-respect and whiplash,
jealous of the car in front holding the road steady.