First Date – by Lesley Quayle


Here was the moment when it came apart,
a judder, scrape of tyres on a gravel lane,
crank of unco-operative gears. Hours parked,
the old car jacked aslant beneath a burst of elder,
high rise brambles and the ash trees crones,
you sweating, grunting, musked by heat and toil,
the wheel-nuts rusted, each wrench and slip of brace
a petite mort. Hope rises
only to fall on its arse.

Hot-blooded in your rage, you threw the brace
I watched it spin over yellow grass,
skim straggled sycamores and split the sky.
You looked like a young god, kneeling, head down,
damp curls tender on the nape of your neck,
shirt sculpted to your body in dark patches.
I lay beside you, mapped in soil and grit,
still unschooled in the lexicons of the heart,
unconcerned with rescue plans,
squinting at clouds,
the graffiti of birds.




Lesley Quayle is a poet and folk/blues singer currently living in The Purbecks in Dorset. She has a pamphlet, Songs For Lesser Gods (Erbacce), featuring her prizewinning sonnet sequence of the same name, and a collection, Sessions, published by Indigo Dreams.

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