When I was a young teenager, we once talked about nominative determinism in English class. Mr. Death made us laugh uneasily and then we fell silent. It was the last lesson of the day and of the year. After the summer break the new teacher did not know where Mr. Death had gone.
Until the end
His shadow led him away from evening. Turning to catch the falling of the sun the path of his life was clear, scuffed through the grass of experience and forgotten lovers. He turned away again and closed his heart. Forward, always forward, until the end.
friends, Sunday lunchtime
a long goodbye
The haar eased in
like a metaphor;
the sun fought briefly
but not enough.
The couple on the beachside bench
and walked away
from each other.
sun beats down
olive grove a car park
The old lady in the laundrette
The old lady in the laundrette offered to help me fold my sheets.
Are you left handed, she asked.
No signora, but my mother-in-law was.
That explains a lot, she said.
Awake in the night
Awake in the night
I confuse the sound of the palms
with the sound of the sea
and imagine I have slept on the beach.
When I awake there is no one
but the heat.
sea time, night
north breeze on wet skin shivers
white horses under a midnight moon
hands touching hands sparking fire
His shadow led him
His shadow led him as he walked away from evening.
Turning to catch the falling of the sun, the path of his life was clear, scuffed through the grass of experience and forgotten lovers.
He turned away again and closed his heart. Forward, always forward, until the end.
He was being chased. Through the dark woods he ran, nearly caught as he reached his front door. He leaped up the stairs and hid beneath the blankets.
He woke up, the dream still vivid, but kept his eyes tight shut.
In the silence he heard the door handle turn.
Written for Scottish Book Trust 50-word competition April 2022