The cyclist

10 November 2020. Springhill Road, Port Kembla.

After it happened, 
some stayed in their cars 
some got out and stood
and those closest
did for him.

They eased him from 
the crumpled frame, straightened 
his leg, the crazy angle 
the bone shard
—dear Jesus. 

Gently they edged him 
from the shattered kerb
to the lawn, still 
soaking from 
last night’s rain.

Someone pressed their shirt
to the wound in his side
another stood 
by his head and 
shaded his eyes.

Someone started breathing for him
their mouth on his 
the iron from his lips:
obedient his chest rose 
and fell. 

He said something then 
too quiet—the sky.
They said hang in there mate 
hissed where’s the ambulance? 
Sirens in the distance.

Sometimes he appeared 
tiny, a broken handful;
sometimes he was vast
a landscape of
fractures and pools.

By the time the ambulances 
came on that early spring day 
the medics had to ease
their hands from
their holding.

Up the hill the traffic
coal trucks and half-cabs 
crawled but here it was quiet
wind in the plane trees
and they stood

together a moment longer
hands now helpless 
as he was raised
in his ruin
through the morning air. 


Image: From the crash site, Springhill Rd, Port Kembla c/- Adam McLean, Illawarra Mercury. A local tragedy.

And here’s the Australian Chamber Orchestra featuring Wollongong boy Richard Tognetti and his flying ‘strad.’ with Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending.

5 thoughts on “The cyclist

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