High Point, 6am.

You wake with worries from the Old World. It’s the details that matter. Just a shirt when you should have a jacket on? The cold is kind, caressing. The tea is sweet but English. The talk is sweet but English. The ashtray is full. The tyre hanging from the tree sways a little in the breeze. A coated figure walks past, indistinct, purposeful, and you wonder where he’s going. No-one here walks, you know that.

You picture yourself in a rocking chair with gun or guitar. Or both. A dog barks. The Mountain Goats sing of corner stores and desire and lo-fi regret. A missed North London voice and a missed North London face come to mind and you smile. The fag-smoke reminds you of a sharp November day outside school, standing at Smokers (where should the apostrophe go?) Corner, the smell of chips and onion vinegar snaking through the air, wrapping round our promises and our smoke.

You talk about Tinder and the crushing clumsiness of men. You talk about how they use Tinder to score drugs here. It’s getting colder. They say it might snow. The people here have Old World worries too. The times they are a-changing. This land is my land.

The light is coming up. It’s time to go back inside, leave the Carolina morning to its own devices, to decide for itself what it wants from the day. The figure walking past earlier, you’re sure now, was the ghost of Coltrane. Sleep comes quickly with the soft morning sun.


Kevin Acott