800px-Girls_learning_to_ride_a_bike_in_the_1930s
No stablisers today
by Finola Scott

Gravel sharp grey crunching
ground slopes down, acid
dandlelions crowd the edges
     don’t go there don’t
      stay on the smooth path
      fast too fast
      but ai must go fast
      or I’ll fall
Wheels whirr whizz
My buckled sandals pump
faster round the pedals.
Daddy runs along
shouting “Straighten up, now!”
His tight hand at the saddle’s back
keeps me steady.

Sun belts down, burns freckles on neck,
grubby hands slip slide on chrome
     I can’t do this           too fast           I can’t
Mummy’s favorite blackbird whistles.
Near path’s end I rush
forward past the broken fence
hurtle alongside
the rough brick wall.
My curls bounce, gingham dress whips legs.
I glance round to ask
Daddy what to do
but he’s not there.
He’s grinning
from the top of the lane.

PHOTO: “Girls learn to ride a bike” (vintage photo, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In this poem, I try to capture the thrill and the fear of learning something potentially dangerous. More than that, it’s a tribute to parents, guardians, uncles, and aunties — anyone who has ever taken the time to teach a skill.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Finola Scott‘s poems and short stories are widely published in anthologies and magazines, including The Ofi Press, Raum, Dactyl, and The Lake. She is pleased to be mentored this year on the Clydebuilt Scheme by Liz Lochead. A performance poet, she is proud to be a slam-winning granny. She  lives in Glasgow, Scotland.