Proofreading the Motorbike Manual

I’m struggling to understand the meaning
of float pivot pin, centrifugal filter,
whether values or valves fits the context,

when there’s the familiar sound
of your impromptu knock
and running to open the door I find you

grinning in your overalls and oil,
filling the porch with the smell of petrol
having just finished a job in the area.

I usher you into the lounge for the tea
with two sugars I know you’ll be expecting,
hold out the proof for you to explain,

but just when it starts to make sense
your radio bleeps and you’re waving goodbye,
called away to tow someone home

or jump start another engine –
shock the traffic of blood into flowing again
through arterial roads to the heart.



Tess Jolly has published two pamphlets: Touchpapers (Eyewear) and Thus the Blue Hour Comes (Indigo Dreams). Her first full collection, Breakfast at the Origami Café, was published in 2020 by Blue Diode Press.