Our next runner-up is Penny Boxall with Advent. Malika describes this as 'both prayer and homage. Where couplets capture the interaction between a passenger and a cab driver. The mixture of plain precise language, and dialogue is elevated in the imagistic language in the final three lines. I was struck by the unusual amplification of an ordinary everyday event.'
God is behind the wheel. I’ve a bus to meet.
It all depends, he says, on Providence –
roadworks. ‘You pray, I drive.’ We squeal
across the lanes. It doesn’t look promising:
pavements overspilling Christmas
shoppers; a jostling litter of traffic cones.
He asks me where I’m from. It’s tricky
to negotiate – I’ve left my job, months since
boxed up my life. No fixed address.
I name a town for something to say.
‘You’re studying?’ Again, I find that I agree.
‘It all depends,’ he says again: ‘you pray.’
I don’t know what it is I’m doing, but each potential
hold-up melts. The cab slips through impossible
traffic. It seems we have a special dispensation.
We pull up tidily, the bus not yet on the horizon.
‘God is great,’ he says. ‘Now out you get.’
He’s off, already collecting his next fare –
ghosting to the kerb in answer to her prayers,
every light ahead of them fluently converted.