To depict a (bicycle), you must first come to love (it).
Alexander Blok

I swear by every rule in the bicycle
owner’s manual

that I love you, I, who have repeatedly,

with accompanying declaration of despair,
tried to repair

you, to patch things up,
to maintain a workable relationship.

I have spent sleepless nights
in pondering your parts – those private

and those that all who walk the street
may look at –

wondering what makes you tick
over smoothly, or squeak.

my trusty steed,
my rusty three-speed,

I would feed you the best oats
if oats

were applicable.
Only linseed oil

will do
to nourish you.

I want
so much to paint

midnight blue

mudgutter black
and standing as you do, ironic

at the rail
provided by the Council –

the sun caught in your back wheel –

or at home in the hall, remarkable
among other bicycles,

your handlebars erect.
Allow me to depict

you thus. And though I can’t do justice
to your true opinion of the surface

of the road –
put into words

the nice distinctions that you make
among the different sorts of tarmac –

still I’d like to set the record of our travels straight.
I’d have you know that

not with three-in-one
but with my own

spittle I anoint your moving parts.

– Gillian Allnutt


About handshedown

Keighley Perkins is a Cardiff-based poet whose influences include Anis Mojgani, Selima Hill and Richard Brautigan. Her work has previously been published in "Acumen", "Elbow Room", "Erbacce", "Fire", "Northwind" and "Obsessed with Pipework". She can also be found online on Twitter at @handshedown. View all posts by handshedown

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