A few days after Christmas
after Santa dropped pedal cars for boys
and dolls in knitted dresses
when tinsel and pine needles
stick like barbs in flowery axminster.

A sunny Saturday afternoon
where women ajax porcelain
or rinse terylene to let the sky in
husbands chop a line in old sedged grass
between footpath and gutter.

He’s three, the same age as my youngest
learning to steer, turn, on the flat car space
from palings to hydrangeas. He’s getting bored
and the blue curved bonnet is sun hot
before he edges too close, chancing it
before he pedals to the edge of his world

clatters down the rangy concrete drive
faster than the big dipper at Luna Park.

He yells with joy at the speed
as the air parts before him, forces his eyes wide
his pale fine hair into wings.
His centre of gravity is low
above the tremble of wheels
the pedals whirr faster than his feet
but little boy stick arms
and dimpled hands steer straight.

I’m one car behind with my kids in the back.
From a tunnel of gums and brown masted conifers
his arrival was more silent than the wind.

He couldn’t stop. No mother could hold him.
I wish he could’ve flown straight across
and landed in the pine-scented hedge over the road.
Gar's Bookshelf
Winning Poems & Stories
The Ride of His Life - Lyn Hatherly