miniature red toy car in accident on white background
My First Car
by Steve Nash

It tasted sour, warm blood crept from my nose,
and as I lolled it around my tongue it throbbed
outwards like gelatine, until my mouth was clogged;
too full to cry out toward my house should the blood
unburden itself of my body for good.
I’d lifted the wheeled, plastic gift
in those too-thin arms down the porch stairs.
Cheeks hot with guilt, feet naked as newborns
to muffle each siren scream of the steps.
Chest tight from the cobwebs frost’s spiders
always weaved in my lungs, what valuable
breath they let leak unfurled into dancing silverfish.
Nothing prepared for the breathless crush
once I’d pushed off from the crest.
Earth rushed past until my first car
betrayed our tryst.
My lips returned the concrete’s kiss,
I haven’t driven since.

IMAGE: “Miniature car accident” by ratana k, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is based on a true story from when I was about five years old. It turns out that children’s push-along cars, and steep hill do not make as fun bedfellows as they may seem. On the plus side, Steve’s face makes a pretty useful emergency brake.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Nash is a writer, lecturer, and terrible musician based in Yorkshire, UK. He is a Saboteur Award winner for Best Spoken Word Performer, and his first collection, Taking the Long Way Home, is available from Stairwell Books. Steve will work for Guinness and Scotch eggs, and suspects his guinea pigs are plotting against him.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Taken by Oz Hardwick at the Word on the Street event at the Morley Literature Festival — this was my first public appearance after recovering from a near-fatal car crash on Skull and Crossbones Bridge in Chesterfield.