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Wing Mirror

The driving seat

Have you ever ridden on the back seat, Dad? 

Yes, I’ve ridden on the back seat— 

As a child
I rode on the back seat
going on holiday, with my parents up in front.
As in a dream I heard their voices far away,
talking about me. 

As a teenager
I rode on the back seat,
in the comforting dark
of a carful of bodies crushed together,
restless with new feelings. 

At my father’s funeral
I rode on the back seat,
too old for childish tears, too young
to wear with ease the hour’s solemnity. 

Nowadays
in cars to the airport in the early morning
I ride on the back seat,
with my suitcase, passport, currency,
my schedule printed neatly by my assistant, 

but today
I’m in the driving seat. 

One day I expect 
I shall ride again on the back seat.
Maybe you’ll be at the wheel.
I’ll hear your voices far away,
talking about me,

but for today
I’m in the driving seat.


Godfrey Rust, godfrey@wordsout.co.uk. See here for details of permissions for use.