Ella Frears

Ella Frears


                 I’m an inconsolable piglet
rooting for lumps in the snow.
                                                Incrementally it falls.
A blanket of hours
            across the boarded-up restaurant.

has eased off but the neon green strip
                        along the edge of the petrol station
            has picked up the slack.
I’ve never seen a colour try so hard.

                                                Thoughts, like water,
take the route of least resistance.
                                    Mine course up
            and down the motorway.
I shove
                        a scotch egg into my mouth.

                                    Looking backwards
off the A30 – there I am,
                                    swimming under the fat lip
of a cliff,
            refusing another lift from the maths teacher.

Further on,
                        I’m aimless on the harbour front,
on the dunes.
            Throwing punches
                                    in a novelty captain’s hat.
Sharing a cigar with the boy
                                                my best friend likes.

            In the toilets,
                                    I’m in the mirror.
            Sobbing over a row of sinks.
                                    The soap dispensers dribble
silky puddles
                        on the faux-marble counter.

The road ahead is dark.
                                                Snowy banks on either side.
                        The ghosts of verges past.
Leaning against a pump,
                                    I watch the red lights head onwards.

Would you mind, sir, hitting pause
                        on the CCTV, running it backwards
so that I might watch
            the sky getting a taste
                                                of its own cold medicine?

More than once
            I’ve slowed, to take a long drink
of someone else’s collision.
                                    Madam, filling up your dusty Peugeot,
it’s OK to stare. Come,
            let me wipe my puffy eyes on your trouser leg.

ELLA FREARS is a poet and visual artist based in London. She’s had work in the LRB, Ambit, Poetry London, and currently has poems on show at Tate St Ives. Her first collection is Shine, Darling (Offord Road Books 2020).