A Basko supermarket lorry is stood
on the brink of the drop
where the bridge fell away.
The wheels were due to cross to that section,
clonk-clink any second.
The driver thought the roar was thunder
or a bomb blast
and through his rain-swashed windscreen
saw the lorries and cars in front
waterfalling into air.
He stamped his foot on the pedal
just in time,
hauling on his hand brake.
Was he listening to latest hits on the radio,
that excitable Italian patter between songs?
Was he talking on a hands-free
or following his sat-nav for the next delivery?
The lorry is stationary
and only metres
from the broken edge.
He didn’t turn it round,
thinking the rest of the bridge
must be about to go down too,
So he stepped out of the cab
and walked back along the highway
wondering at every step if that would collapse
but better to run back
than risk reversing his employer’s vehicle
when somebody might come up behind.
We are all that driver
poised on a drop
to a broken world
and making decisions
as I am today
wondering what may be about to happen
what the next phone call might bring
if the test results have been analysed
and if it’s a No or a Yes
and what the consequences will be.
My lorry is stationary
and only metres
from a broken edge.
© Rebecca Gethin
Rebecca Gethin lives on Dartmoor in Devon. In 2017 two pamphlets were published: A Sprig of Rowan by Three Drops Press and All the Time in the World by Cinnamon Press who published an earlier collection and two novels. She has been a Hawthornden Fellow. In 2018 she jointly won the Coast to Coast Pamphlet competition and has been awarded a writing residency at Brisons Veor. www.rebeccagethin.wordpress.com