Risk Assessment

by Helen Mort

We started with rain – grey, hair
plastered against our heads –
and you drew for me the heavy lungs
of a valley, filling and swelling
with water, where you had dived,
pulled sideways by current, trying
to touch the river bottom,
and had broken through the surface
with only silt in your eyes,
drowning in the brown water
a story your mother told you
about those lads
the river hugged too tightly.
Opposite ‘The Rose and Crown’
the traffic holds its breath for you
and we dodge through cars, drivers
gaping against their windows. You talk
of miracles in the everyday;
the euphoria of an open window,
sunshine unsettling dust across the floor
and the car headlamps flash
across your own small miracle,
the half-way mark on your neck
still bruised with something like luck.
We started with rain,
but then you tell me that
the only thing you’ve ever wanted
is to make love in a thunderstorm,
watch the clouds crowding in.
The night jostles against my skin,
warning me to assess.
Traffic, with nothing to stay for,
moves on. I am left
to walk the tightrope of your smile
not alone
but by myself.