Brian Johnstone's 'One for the Road'

One for the Road

The headlights beam into the dark,
illuminating silence the vehicle moves into,

distant till it dopplers past, a fan of light
that breaks upon a sky so full of stars

it’s nothing but the swipe of us
intruding for a moment on the pitch of night

much as a match flares till it’s shaken out,
or as we try to make our mark

but stumble, spill its substance, light up
our surroundings only briefly, see

there’s nothing more than we’d steered into,
find we’re fumbling for the map.

*Brian Johnstone’s latest collection is The Book of Belongings (Arc, 2009). His work has appeared throughout Scotland and in the UK, America and Europe. He is a co-founder of StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival and was Festival Director from 2001-2010.

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