ALRIGHT – Emily Rais

By August 25, 2017 2017 runner up

We wrapped around a street lamp;
like a gift all bow-covered and taped neat on the edges,
we turned its light to darkness.
Maybe we’d been drinking.
The lights perhaps were a little too blurry,
pulsing and winking like live things.
I was distracted but then
it wasn’t me behind the wheel,
pedal to the floor.
She’ll be alright,
they used to promise us when we were just small,
patting our sandy hair with rough, tanned hands.
That summer, bare feet sticky against the tarmac,
we believed the age-old farmer wisdom we were too young to understand.
For she’ll always be alright
until she isn’t anymore,
until we’d wrapped ourselves around a crooked street light
at a hundred and twentysomething Ks an hour;
until your sandy hair was all rust-red
and the lights blurred behind my eyes and I couldn’t reach you;
until you wrapped us around a street lamp and the ribbons wound themselves around your soul;
until the rain turns my hair to straight sheets –
your funeral shroud –
until you sink, sealed coffin, to the ground before us
and suddenly I am alone.
Still those rough, tanned hands pat on in a sympathetic rhythm
and she’ll be alright,
they promise.
She’ll be alright.

Emily Rais
Year 13

One Comment

  • Debbie House says:

    “For she’ll always be alright until she isn’t anymore.” – This is such a haunting line. I love the balance and the rhythm of it, and ‘until she isn’t anymore’ hits hard. We are not used to ‘she’ not being alright and the reader is left in an uncomfortable vulnerable place along with the persona.

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