‘Initiation’ by Niall Firth


It’s 5pm and now, yes, the light
is just right to catch the hubcaps,
a shivery ginger glow spreading
across the stubble to strike our Fiat
at a lover’s angle, like it did the Passat
before it, the Saab from ‘98, right back
to that Capri, sitting rakish,
when this field was mantis-green
with barley and we hadn’t decided
what this was all for.

The same rigmarole: the buff,
an off-screen caress, the position just-so,
here in this field outside town,
only the camera, us, and the sky,
changing. The woods are constant
in the upper right quadrant of the frame,
filtering the winter light or the summer
brightness and us, behind the viewfinder,
able to intuit the almost-imperceptibles:

the passenger-side ding,
the scent of Lively Lemon Magic Tree,
the scruffy footprints on the seat-back,
the sweet wrappers in the glove compartment,
the bonnet still warm from the drive over.

Niall Firth is a journalist in London and has been published in The Rialto, Nutshell, Litmus, Ink Sweat and Tears and other places. Twitter: @niallfirth