Sunday, early, April ’74: a sky
still undecided whether to wear
rainbows, and a road already warm
and ripe for riding.
Underneath and all around him,
thin wheels whisper. Touching
tarmac through a shallow
brilliance of rain, they lap up
liquid beads of light,
for spokes to fillet into silver
showers that tumble,
to be turned and tossed again.
In his wake, a trail is laid:
it glistens for a second,
then evaporates – an evanescent thread
that bubbles under every push
away from home, where bad
revision notes are turning brown below
the bed; beyond them lies the final day
at school, then God knows what.
He’s got his auntie’s knitted
racing jumper on, canary-yellow,
with the club name stitched in blue,
and he’s nestled in the centre of the bunch:
an easy-breathing train of chrome and corduroy,
conversation, rolled-up capes.
They’ve wedged him where, this time, he can’t
uncouple and get left behind …
Later now, return leg, and an uphill
crunch against the wind. He’s knuckled
down and blowing hard, eyeballing
the handlebars, elbows riveted to ribs:
a flesh-and-fabric planet packing
itself back to core and generating
pain, but plumb in place – he’s fixed
and spinning in his citadel of space,
and though a life ago,
this day of utter joy, it still
remains. In spite of God knows what,
it still remains.