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Davey hit a lamppost

at seventy miles an hour.

Unforgiving, unmoved,

now coloured

of synapse, cortex,

cartilage, hemispheres.

You were fifteen years old.


Lard – pale

the first policeman

on the scene

was sick.


Little contact since juniors,

stories on the street had you

come off the rails


like you came off that motorbike

adrenalin boy

in the days before crash helmets,

long hair, blowin’ in the wind.


Was your friend John Surtees? Geoff Duke?

Bike flung to a crazy angle,

left leathered knee

lowered to tarmac – touch

fleeing, glancing

like a goodbye kiss.

No chance to miss

the car that pulled out

in front of you.


Your friends walked

to the Methodist chapel

by the school field



as you were boxed in.


So recently,

innocent of misfortune

we’d wrestled on that field,

Jackie Pallo and Mick McManus,

( we loved wrestling)

and now I think

of all the love and loss

you have not lived to wrestle with


and of how

we could not wrest you

from that final submission

or prevent the promise you were

freezing like pollen

into a core of ice.


I cannot say that we’d stayed close

but fifty years ago I lost something at that post,

more than just a one – time friend,

some lightness perhaps

somewhere around that last blind bend.

Published inPoetry

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