Whatever Speed I Dared

Today I am delighted to host a poem from award-winning writer Amanda Huggins, from her forthcoming collection Talk to Me About When We Were Perfect.

Whatever Speed I Dared

The empty motorway carves its way west,
cuts through moor and hill,
no tail lights in front, no headlights behind,
everything uncommonly still.
Right now, I could drive
in whichever lane I wanted
at whatever speed I dared,
criss-cross the curving lines of cats’ eyes,
wind down the window,
blast out ‘Born to Run’,
howl into the night
like an American werewolf.

Caught in my full beam,
a skittish hare makes a dash
for the other side.
He pauses for a moment,
all gold-spun fur and liquid eyes,
ears raised, one front paw held high.
I lift my own foot off the pedal,
grip the wheel, ready to swerve.
But he moves off again
without a backward glance,
leaping the barrier,
melting into darkness.

I shiver and turn the music down,
moving over to the inside lane,
slowing to sixty until headlights
appear in my rear view mirror again.

Amanda Huggins is the author of the novellas All Our Squandered Beauty and Crossing the Lines – both of which won a Saboteur Award for Best Novella – as well as five collections of short stories and poetry. Her debut poetry chapbook, The Collective Nouns for Birds, won a Saboteur Award in 2020, and her first full length collection will be published next March. Her short fiction and travel writing has also appeared in publications as diverse as Mslexia, Popshot, Tokyo Weekender, The Telegraph, Traveller, Wanderlust and the Guardian. Three of her short stories have also been broadcast on BBC radio.

‘Whatever Speed I Dared’ was first published on www.northerngravy.com and will appear in the author’s collection Talk to Me About When We Were Perfect, out March 2023 from Victorina Press)

She has won numerous awards, including the Colm Toibin International Short Story Award 2020, the H E Bates Short Story Prize 2021 and the British Guild of Travel Writers New Travel Writer of the Year Award 2014. She was also a runner-up in the Costa Short Story Award 2018 and the Fish Short Story Prize 2021, and has been placed/shortlisted in the Bridport Prize, Bath Flash Award, The Alpine Fellowship Award and many others. Amanda lives in Yorkshire and works as an editor, creative writing tutor and publishing assistant.

Motorway pic: Simon Brace 2014. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported 


3 thoughts on “Whatever Speed I Dared

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