States of Poetry 2017 - ACT | 'You Never Said It’s A Race, Dad!' by Isi Unikowski

‘You Never Said It’s A Race, Dad!’

Oh, but it’s a race all right, trust me, kid, that
hill he almost managed to beat you to the
top of (‘Rubbish!’) challenged him more than you, de-
spite all the picnic

stuff he made you carry in your Batman rucksack.
It’s a race to find all the spare parts, becoming
antiques, puzzling kids in the bike shop while you’ve
multiplied years like

gear ratios; slipping cables, missing
chain links, pedals going around faster but the
landscape’s keeping pace with his hunched shadow
even though you’re nudging his

rear wheel; love ballasts his panniers.
You imagine the peloton behind you, scattered by your
wake; while his has vanished round the next un-
fathomable bend.

Isi Unikowski

This response to a kid’s excited banter with his dad, overheard while strolling around the lesser-known shores of Lake Burley Griffin to the west of the ANU, came (almost) ready-made, including its Sapphics. – Isi Unkowski