Slide rule

The universe is running away with itself
like a child on a red bike on Christmas Day.

Somewhere the wrapping is still being opened.
The present gives itself again and again.

And the child hurtles at perfect speed
across town towards nothing.

Her parents are already
looking at the clock, saying

how late it is getting, how the darkness
comes so much sooner.

It is only a matter of time,
they are saying,

before she will land,
awkwardly, in an original position,

sucking in broken concrete
and teeth.

the child on a red bike

is running away with herself
like the universe on Christmas Day.

Winner, Poetry Can Poetry Competition 2009
‘Electric Shadow’ (Bloodaxe) 2011