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

Isi Unikowski

Isi Unikowski

Isi Unikowski’s poetry has been widely published in Australia and overseas. He was shortlisted for the inaugural University of Canberra Vice Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University.