Mostly you saw him from beyond the reach of a tempered glass screen,
his large hands stretched across the dashboard
like the skin of an animal drawn tight. Years after your arrival
you christened her birthplace the Texas of the UK:
caravans clattering the flatlands like limbs, dawn a dream caught
between sleep and waking, punctured by the sounds of animals
dragged from or into the night; chickens split in half like dresses
fluttering at the seams, the worshipping of anything other than skin,
one home peeling into the next absence, prairie of your mother’s loss.
He used to be known,
lunchtimes spent with the engine running, cars dotted
either side like bruises mapping a body; once,
he’d asked what you’d do, y’know, when you finish school and that,
and you said get the fuck out of here without taking a
second breath. He smiled and smacked his lips together:
a guillotine silencing the final toke,
hiss of rizla burning below the wheel.
Used to be known, used to be respected, feared, hated,
loved, young – used to be
alive. He lay there,
bleeding out at the entrance of the town’s only Morrisons,
a single footprint etched into the crown of his head.
Bathed in the evening sun’s reflections off the supermarket windows,
cop cars circled thirsty as tongues,
while residents from the retirement home next door searched
for the best discounts inside, swollen in their Sunday best-
Lotte Lee Lewis is a poet and writer, among other things. Her work has been published or is forthcoming from Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Squawk Back and Hotdog Magazine. Watch her document her own downfall @lotteleelewis.