Fresh: After the Death of Jules Bianchi by Amy Kinsman

After the Death of Jules Bianchi

You rev the engine. That line of red lights above you
blinks until the flag drops and the tyres squeal off the line.
Suzuka in the rain kicks up spray behind these wheels,
Defiant. There are no conquerors in these chrome chariots
but you will evade these waves that would drag you down and drown you.
Water drips over your visor, clogs the camera,
Muffles the radio, loosens your grip and slows your speed
but storms and tempests are made to be weathered by heroes at the helm.
Alonso is out, electrical failure. This is not his victory,
It is yours and you will seize it.

Damp permeates through your overalls (or is that sweat?)
You peel the throwaway from your helmet for a moment of clear vision
so the next car in front is more than the blurry brakelight beyond you.
Ease it off, we want you to finish. That next car is so close,
You can taste the fuel burning. You floor the pedal,
Flat out through the corners like Senna, Villeneuve, Cevert, Rindt,
Icarus soaring through the clear skies hooked on the taste of freedom.
They call him foolish now, Sutil crashed on the corner,

But for that moment he held the sun in his burning palms,
It’s light cracking through his fingers
and raining down, golden, upon his face, his wings.
They said such things were only ever half-remembered dreams
and that pride like this always meant falling at the end
and that the ocean is made up of drops,
Impossible to differentiate from one another.

He knew then that the sun was beyond their reach
but not the thrust of his own arms, hyper-extended,
Shoulders popping from their sockets
and pulling the skin of his back taut
until you could see the mechanisms beneath him,
Glistening pistons for organs and axles made of bone
and blood humming through the engine of him –
The finest thing Daedelus ever created, by far.

And this car is just your outstretched hands
grasping for the foot of a competitor,
You can feel the sand beneath your bare feet
and the wreck comes onto the horizon.

Icarus went into Hades grinning.

Amy Kinsman is a poet and a playwright, but mostly she works in a supermarket and violently resists getting “a real job”. This is probably best for everyone. She performs regularly at open mic around Sheffield and her work appears in the forthcoming Slim Volume: This Body I Live In (Pankhearst). Find her online at


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