The Driver

by Maral Erol

The waves lap up along the sand
The runners glisten in the light
They sweat as they glide

I ride alongside in the passenger’s seat
The road spattered with cars
Windows open, tops down
The driver chatters on
The driver knows I can’t jump out
The driver knows I’m trapped

I watch from behind the window as cyclists whiz past
They move backward, no, forward
The driver chatters on
“Why can’t you do what you’re told”
“What’s wrong with you”

I stare out at the pristine clouds
I watch the waves caress the shore
The driver chatters on
“Are you even listening to me?”
“Why are you like this?”

I stare into the sun
My eyes scream for relief
I watch the water crash against itself
The driver drives me

The sun rages on

©Maral Erol, 2022

This poem was longlisted as part of the Spectrum: Poetry Celebrating Identity project. Click here to find out more about the project, and other poems on the longlist here.


The concept of identity – be it class, gender, sexuality, national, institutional, or anything else we define ourselves by – has gone through radical change over the past half-century, and the idea of definition by binary oppositions is no longer as relevant as it once was.

Spectrum is a poetry anthology that seeks to amplify marginalised voices, and to celebrate the great diversity and rich variation in the identities of people from around the world and from a huge cross-section of walks of life.

Click here for the anthology of shortlisted poems.