When we both happened to be free,
You’d pick me up from the echoing apartment
On the edge of town and we’d drive into the hills,
Stopping at bars in shacks, sprinkled amongst
Rainforest and plantations.
We’d drink red wine with ice
From thick glass beakers
And continue upwards
Along winding, unlit mountain roads.
On the rarely encountered sections
Where gear changes weren’t required,
You’d sometimes reach out for my hand.
But usually we just went from place to place
Talking to the old men drinking rum
Or the women serving beer.
Later we’d look for food.
You had a favourite place,
A small hut, perched on the cliffs,
With three small tables covered in waterproof cloths
Patterned with vegetables.
We’d eat snapper or wrasse,
Lying whole and alone on white plates,
Then we’d get back in the car
And move on.
At night the island roads were empty
And we would be the only travellers,
Driving through sleeping villages,
Past dogs on the streets
And bats flying round a single light,
Our fingers occasionally meeting
On dark, straight stretches of road.