Day Trip

Surprise is an unrolled paper, a sunrise I can’t for the life of me remember, hand-coloured, with a phone number scrawled in the corner. There’s a bus stop where we slept beneath plastic sheets, a basic bender in a field that’s now roped off with guards and dogs, a checkpoint and an X-ray machine. When I raise my hands, I feel like my wrists are tied, and I think of a cheap scarf with moons and stars, the taste of cut tobacco, gummed skins. I leave behind water and sun cream, but no-one notices the blade in my pocket or the bomb beneath my ribs, and I’m waved into a vacuum that sucks me back thirty years or more, turning with the sky inside a stone circle, eating chocolate for breakfast, rolled into a tight fist, about to explode.

Oz Hardwick is a writer, photographer, music journalist, and occasional musician, based in York (UK). He has published six poetry collections, most recently The House of Ghosts and Mirrors (Valley Press, 2017), and has edited and co-edited several more, including (with Miles Salter) The Valley Press Anthology of Yorkshire Poetry, which was a National Poetry Day recommendation in 2017. His website:

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