After picking a random tree at some distance
from where I stopped, he puffed up and set out,
his face halfway between anxious and proud,
but soon fell off with rueful shout, down and out
for the count, possibly at three pushed pedals,
plunging not even close and certainly no medal.
I told him he should expect some knocks in life
as he spat out gobfuls of grass then looked across
at his mother solo texting, unconcerned and lost
in some other time, anywhere but be here now.
I wondered where in the world his father was,
if that heart ever took time to think or pause
but guessed not and, maybe glad, set to again
watching as the glittering wheels failed to spin,
gravity pulling him in, rage written on thin skin
secretly knowing all seafarers are quite right in
albatross omens of tacking too close to the rim
to fall off heart’s edge in cartwheeled tumbling.
I assured him belief was the key, as he made
it to three, or maybe four before touching floor
then booting obstinate bike with petulant glare
before stretching out arms. I ruffled some hair,
shifted him full upright, gazing into the weight
of our problem, for the path stretched straight
to distant tree, while gravity clutched us close
in love and learning, an unspoken orbit of trust
that had yet to be broken, written in stardust,
and yet, it must. And on the third day he flies
forwards as the master, a jubilant shout at last,
leaves me puffed out and many years down past.