The cyclist

10 November 2020. Springhill Road, Port Kembla.


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

They eased him        from the crumpled frame
lifted his leg         the angle, the bone, dear Jesus. 

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

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

One breathed for him, their mouth on his 
the iron of his lips
                 obedient         his chest rose         and fell
                 like a shopping bag. 

He said something then        too quiet         the sky
They said hang in there mate. 
Sirens in the distance.

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


By the time they arrived         that early Spring day  
the medics had to pry their hands from the holding.

Up the hill the traffic        pitiless        coal trucks and half-cabs 
but here it was quiet        wind in the plane trees 
                     a bright of gulls.

They stood together
a moment         longer        hands useless
                         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.

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