Contemporary poets: 26. Carol Rumens
Sunday 21 February 1993
The news stayed good until Monday morning
When a taxi-driver was shot in the South of the city
And his unnamed schoolgirl passenger injured.
Outside the window, clouds made changeable bruises
And spillings. Bad weather, taxi weather.
I picked up my dish, poured everything down the sink,
Unclogged it with bare fingers, ran for my coat,
Tried to flash back to how it used to be,
Hearing about these things every day of the week
And not feeling cold and sick and hot: the beauty
Of being nobody's lover.
I could hardly stand up as I reached the school railings.
The clouds turned heavy again, opened fire
On my face and eyes with stinging rice-grains of hail.
Bad weather, taxi weather. If it's not there
I'll die, I'll scream, I'll run from here to Balmoral.
But the bike was neatly chained in the shed as usual.
The square-root of the frame, graceful, ice-blue,
Cut me the old two ways: her nearness, her distance.
The sky cleared. I began to look for her
Without seeming to. I stopped feeling sick for her.
Another sickness took over.
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