About the poet
George Szirtes (b. 1948) came to England in 1956 as a refugee from Hungary. He was brought up in...
With a firm hand, she dabs at two pink pancakes
and smooths herself right out. The man next door
crushes his cigarette in the ashtray and makes
a call. A car draws up below. There are more
cars by the curbside, waiting with lights on.
Everything is ready. Lights on the floor
above a snap off. Whatever business was being done
is done. It's time for bed. Boys stir in sleep
to the sounds of drumming that might be a handgun.
The plot is too complex and runs too deep
for neat solutions. There are only cars
and endless cruising. There are secrets you keep
and secrets you don't yet know. There are scars
below scars and, eventually, daylight over the hill
to wipe the windscreens by the all-night bars
but shadows remain on the lung and the grille
of the sedan parked by the gate. What troubles you?
Why so anxious? Why do you stand so still?
from Reel (Bloodaxe, 2004), copyright © George Szirtes 2004, used by permission of the author and Bloodaxe Books Ltd.
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