Thirteen years on she steps back into my wasted life, stark on the front page, a new name, the husband’s, same cool beauty, her face jolting me in my meal break near oil drums filled with rain, machinery’s grind and clatter silenced, my heart on overtime. Vanished. Foul play suspected. Two youngsters left, their father, who I know will be on everybody’s mind.
After trouble in the city I moved back to the area where we attended school, that madhouse of burgeoning libido. I think we held hands. Was there a note passed? A kiss? Now some moron might have killed her. My brief early love. I want to save her, me, a sad sack semi-skilled wage-slave attracted to trouble who can’t save himself. Who pays the price daily for skiving off in school. Kissing instead of studying.
She hitched three hundred miles of coastal roads dismayed by monotony’s grip. In a motel with seagulls in crisis, light dimming, sharks out there somewhere, an ocean of pressure overwhelming her, she knew the jig was up, turned herself in, old before she hit thirty. The husband of our suspicions might have grasped his second chance. I fled the factory. Now, with me washed up by a sighing sea, wind wild in my face mending pain, she alights in a thought gap. I hope we kissed.
Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in, Amsterdam Quarterly, Antipodes, Australian Poetry Journal, Critical Survey, Live Encounters, The Stony Thursday Book, & Two-Thirds North. His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide). He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island, Tasmania.