Full beam

We drove along the Madingley Road
sad, and not talking much, I don’t remember why,
the college buildings shut down for the night
then homes lit in the odd window,
but I remember the light, brighter than natural
beyond the Welcome to Cambridge sign,
blazing from an area of trees;
you couldn’t call it a wood, it was a corner
of adolescent saplings, a trap for packaging
blown this far out, too wedged between roads
to be useful, too noisy to sit in and enjoy
a cigarette among the dead leaves,
too small to exercise a dog and useless
to flatten for anything else.
There in that pointless triangle
we saw them, full-attired in white,
from visored face to bag-covered shoes,
moving oh-so slowly among the lean birches,
lit from behind like science fiction
by that disregarding beam; then we saw
the van, and the cordon, and we knew
that the news was no fiction and her body
had been found among the leaves and wrappers
on our hill.

Young woman, drunk,
mistook a murderer’s car for a taxi,
disappeared on CCTV and materialised
there, as we drove in horror up the bank.
We closed the car doors and ducked inside
a darker and hollower house than the one we left,
closing the windows fast and at once,
feeling like we’d suffered the crime ourselves
and committed it, longing for daylight
though the night was just starting,
scared of the dark but scared too
of what light itself can reveal.