“I’d Drive Anywhere with You” by Kerry Greer

Kerry Greer


We eat dinner in the car. I lock the doors
and then we’re in the real world
of the two of us, inchoate in the half-dark
as surely it has always been somewhere
before here, and after, the accordion
of Time a trick, a thing you can compress
and stretch, and even sit inside.
I don’t know how to say this any other way:
He’s not from here. He’s not like anyone
I’ve ever met. 
He’s so pleased I ordered him a double
cheeseburger tonight. This is a once-a-month
treat. Fine dining, I say. You should see his face.
He’s six now, and he thinks this might go on
forever. This always growing up, these nights of
life contained and held. We read about Christopher Robin, 
the real boy, while we eat. We discuss the shapes 
that poems make, the little ones you can memorise
together in a moment in the car. Then I play for him
something new and also ancient: the sound from a black 
hole. He says, Oh. And I say, Yes, I know.
I scroll the comments as the chasm speaks, 
searching for the non-believer who will explain
away the chill running down my spine with
Simple Science. You can discount a lot of things
when you’re not listening for a very particular
voice. I say, Did you hear him? And he says,
         Nothing needs to be explained between us.
Galaxies will collide one day, 
Andromeda into the Milky Way.
We’ll be long gone. The car, the drive-through,
the streetlights casting yellow orbs into the dark
like fishing nets. You don’t know what’s out there,
but you throw the line, and something moves—someone
echoes back, a Tuvan song, a life—a child asking me: 
Will Heaven hit Andromeda too? 
Like heaven might be somewhere here on earth,
like I might be the one who knows. 
We’ll be very far away by then, I say. Picture
a car with jet boosters. Picture a drive-through 
in outer space. I’m in the front seat,
and you’re in the back. What would you like to eat?
Through the black pool of night
we float, find all the world’s asleep
except for us. There’s a kind of magic on the edge
of normal family life: a singularity—
only we know what it’s like.
At the traffic lights, I watch him in the rear-view mirror. 
He’s smiling. He’s looking out at the sky, macadam 
of gas and dust. Can we do this again? he asks. 
I like our little chats in the car.
I nod. I watch the road. I watch the sky.
Nobody waits for us at home. 
We could go anywhere.
We might go anywhere.

from Rattle #79, Spring 2023
Tribute to Irish Poets


Kerry Greer: “I’m a Northern Irish poet and writer. I was born in Belfast and lived there until I was eight, when my family moved to Western Australia. I returned to live in Belfast for several years in my early twenties. I continue to feel a very strong connection to Northern Ireland, particularly in my work as a writer. The lyric quality of the Irish vernacular, and the desire to make stories from even mundane events (a common theme in my own family!) is something I consider particularly Irish. I believe these characteristics contribute to the reputation Ireland has as a locus of art, music, and storytelling. Further, I think that Ireland has a legacy of oral storytelling that exists in conversation and everyday interactions, and carries over into their love for the magic of the written word.” (web)

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