344. six seconds on a sunny afternoon.

No smoke

No flames

No dust

No person

Standing at the side of the road

No movement

At all

Serenity, almost

On this lovely blue-sky day


Up ahead

At the roundabout

A cop car

Blocks the way onto the A16

That side of the Armco

As the girl in blue

 – no more than twenty – slows and

Stops her running

By the white car

which is Wrapped, Wrapped, Wrapped


Around that tree

Way off the ground

And level with the road above

– She puts her hand to her mouth

Covers her mouth, wide-eyed


In that universal gesture

Of horror and disbelief.