This poem is taken from Stand 212, 14(4) December 2016 - February 2017.

Martin Reed Three Poems
The Test

After the usual one for the road
to see off another working week,
the half mile trip past the viaduct,

right off the roundabout, out along Spennels,
a left and straight home. But a pulsing blue signal
brought my eyes to the mirror. We noticed your brake light.

Get it fixed in the morning, there’s a good chap.
Reasonable men. My contemporaries.
But while we’ve got you. It’s just routine,

a normal breath sir please, in here.
If you get the green light you’ve no further worries.
Red and you’ll be coming with us.


The breath that never deserted you.
The breath of life, of liberty.
Suddenly breathing was difficult

but I sighed in the tube and handed back
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