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A sudden heavy shower of summer rain

slows the early evening motorway

to a blood red blur of brake lights.

In my mirror, I see two cars collide,

career across the lanes – and others stop,

receding out of sight into the downpour…


I am thirteen and a half and tall for my age –

the year of Hungary and Suez;

am sitting on the red leather back seat

of an almost straight-from-the-showroom

Morris Minor (in the inexorable green),

having dined at Heathrow’s new, five star

restaurant and sampled hors d’oeuvre

and tasted Riesling for the first time;

am being driven back to Golder’s Green

by Yvette, the car’s owner, a fashion designer

and childhood friend of the other passenger,

Angela, my aunt, a night club pianist,

briefly home from Johannesburg –

both daughters of Tzarist refugees,

both light years from the Pale,

bleached blondes, smoking Sobranie

Black Russian in ivory cigarette holders;

am listening to these nubile women,

our daughter’s age now, talk acidly

of their exes, wearily of their dads

when a four door car, overtaking,

somewhere on the Great West Road,

comes seemingly too close and Yvette

swerves sharply right, her bumper

striking its fender with a metallic thump…


Fifty and more years later I forget

the dénouement. Certainly, no one died.

I think of you, somewhere perhaps without rain,

watching the sun set, perhaps wondering where I am,

why I am late, while I drive homewards.


Note: this piece has been subsequently published in ‘A Jar of Sticklebacks’ –




© Copyright David Selzer
2 Responses
  • Arthur Kemelman
    September 25, 2012

    I very much liked ‘Accidents’ and may have commented on it before. In any case, it’s a lovely poem. The movement of the poem between the present-past-present is very good and nicely conveys what we are, how we are ‘built’, the way we think and feel today. Question: In the fifth line, shouldn’t it be careens and nor careers?

  • David Selzer
    September 25, 2012

    You’ve commented before but I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the poem a second time. Your revisiting it more than justifies my decision to re-publish different pieces of work every six months or so – not least, of course, because the site attracts new visitors all the time. Answer: ‘careers’ it is – ‘careens’ must have been prompted by your recent sojourn near a harbour!

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