Dad has always driven slowly
as though he has always been
dragging this trailer, full of loose ends
from his childhood that he can't
let go. The trailer follows the car
at a jaunty angle, when Mum isn't looking
over her shoulder, the trailer turns
into Gran, hanging on
to the bumper, her head down, her wings raised
like a Rolls Royce angel's,
when Mum looks back she will see
just the trailer and the last of the boxes.
Dad sticks to the back lanes
of his childhood, crawling along as though he is
crawling through treacle. He is speeding
in a bicycle lane when the police
catch up. They don't see Gran
or Dad or Mum, just an old couple
with a trailer and hurry them on with the trailer
rattling behind like bones or cans
tied to a wedding car. Dad will stop dead eventually,
when Mum follows, all the trailer's loose ends will spill
over into my living room where Gran's clock is
already losing time on the mantelpiece.
Anna Woodford has received an Eric Gregory Award, an Arvon/Jerwood Apprenticeship, a Hawthornden Fellowship and a residency at the Blue Mountain Center (New York). Her pamphlet The Higgins' Honeymoon is published by Driftwood and her poems have appeared in TLS and the Rialto among many other magazines and anthologies. Her reviews are upcoming in Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry London and Magma.
She was recently poet in residence at the Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service: her sequence of poems "The Fire Tales" are due to be projected onto fire station buildings around the North East in early 2006. She teaches "Writing From The Inside Out" at the Centre for Lifelong Learning in Newcastle upon Tyne and is taking a PhD in the poetry of Sharon Olds at Newcastle University.
Trailer is part of a sequence of elegies she is writing about her grandparents.
For more recent information - and another poem - from Anna, see her Poem of the Month for June 2010, Birdhouse.
Follow the link for a list of other Poems of the Month.
Trailer © 2005 Anna Woodford: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.