Cycling Poem (not quite the Tour de France)

Father’s Bronchitis

I listen for
the creak of panic in his lungs
as he leans on pedals to confront
a hill.

I know his days on bikes are slowing
the cycle chain ticks off the miles.
Trees and fields and lanes slip by.
And years.

I clutch my sheaf of flowers tight
knowing the house will stifle them.
He sits by open kitchen door,
for air,

gasping like a landed carp.
There’s nothing I can do except
brew up the way he likes, put away
the bike.
First published in The Way We Came (Bluechrome 2007)



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4 responses to “Cycling Poem (not quite the Tour de France)

  1. Angela,

    A quietly written but deeply felt poem that will resonate especially with anyone who has had to witness and cope with a beloved parent’s slow decline. I’ve been there too.


  2. Moving and disarming. Loved reading this.
    Some of us are writing about Le Tour today, and I put up a link to your poem, as it is so outstanding. Hope you don’t mind.

    • Thank you, please feel free to share it. It is from my earlier collection, The Way We Came but is also included in my 2013 selection, Letting Go, from Mother’s Milk Press.

  3. How beautiful! Yes and yes. And silence because, thank God, he is living life fully. Come visit us for our Tour de France prompt today at Poets United–click my name. A poet there led me to you. I hope you will link this deeply felt poem.