Ex

Philip Gross

Gusting across, not waiting

for the lights, just one more
loose end of the working day

leaking home through the cracks
in the traffic, at six

already dark ... Across, between
a humped WIMPY-jacketed back

hugging two carrier-bags
from the off-licence,

and a shock mascara’d
teenage mum gone grey

in my headlights
(her buggy-bound astronaut

bumping down
to the breath of exhaust on his cheek) ...

Across, not looking left or right
between the neon CHRIST

IS THE ANSWER on the shut
shop of the chapel

and the Asian minimarket
(the whole family gathered in

round the freezer, disputing,
their faces lit upwards

in Christmas-card glow) ...
Ghosting across, between

my bumper and the brakelights
of a transit van, not an arm’s reach away

and turning for a moment,
square on and not seeing,

it was you –
pale puffed and bulky

as if flickered up
by my dipped beam out of focus.

I was glad to see you cast a shadow.