Naked and afraid, the girl doubled up with a shrill
that filled the rear-view, the red sun thick off her hair,
her lips peeled back over teeth clenched on tails of air
shredded thin by speed. A rush of rich carmine silt ran
swollen under the bridge, the dry knock of the wheel
pitching the battered Hilux over the ungraded road.
Again her face resurfaced, alone in the mirror, the strain
of the breech birth tightening her breath, the road
rolling stoically to its cruel end where a dirt-strip took
us up to a quiet clinic set at the foot of the mountain.
There, blood and limb turned cold between her thighs.
The drive back home was all silver light and tussock
grass fields, low heavy gears moaning to the turn-off –
the road speckled black, the river’s bruised serigraph
woven wet with the brisk evening flight of alderflies.