As the leaves turned yellow and Autumn tread among the trees
We drove black roads to see the colours of life.
The girl with me
Urged me to run down animals we saw in our way.
I laughed thinking it was a joke
But she was serious
No good came of that drive.
Later, standing alone at the bar, deep in the heart of the city
In came loud mouth Joe, laughing and wearing a coat he stole from the second-hand store.
He came up beside me, holding a letter like a fox might hold an egg.
He sits down on a stool, hard,
But lays the letter down soft
And points at it, inviting me to read.
It’s from a lawyer
Joe leans across and runs a dirty finger over a line
“You do not owe her any money.”
I know what it’s about, the eighteen-year-old girl he made pregnant
The girl I knew well.
“What’s this about?” I ask him
“I don’t owe her any money?” he yells
Slapping the paper, forgetting himself.
“It’s your baby; you must owe her something.”
“Can’t you see what is written in the letter? I don’t owe her.”
I stopped speaking to him, and watched him drink.
A young girl came across and sat next to him.
“Buy you a drink?” he asks.
She laughs, leaning across, her hand brushing down his leg.
He takes the letter and shoves it into his pocket.
Into the street, I step down out of the hot bar
Steam rises out of a grate; water shines like oil in the gutter.
I walk home in the dark, under the huge concrete overpass I stop and look one way
Along the dark road and then the other, toward a lighted pedestrian underpass
And I wonder what became of her,
What becomes of anyone?
Published by David O'Sullivan