Saturday, 12 September 2020

Falling Off


Falling Off



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.