Couples

Along an esplanade of light,
speeding, a highway driver sees
the couples, hands
clamped in one another's hands,
fingers stiff, the grip meccano,
and the palms pumping in unison.

His windows streak. He notices
their squabbling lips, set
neatly above their cloven chins.
They march in manageable ranks
along an infinite pavement,
brazenly facing forward.

Moonlight becalms them. He
sucks his breath like cigarette,
breathing hard, hard. Their faces
seem somehow apologetic, set
firmly into the distance,
as if glimpsing a mirage.

Driving is now more difficult.
His chest heaves, he hears
the slurred murmur, the
traffic of their conversations.
They wink back, they wave;
and they are conspirators.

From the book Robinson Crusoe's Bank Holiday Monday