Shaving blade wrapper flutters to the ground
revealing silky glints in teenaged hands.
Silver bicycle angles against sunlit wall,
leaning well back from the world;
gleaming frame sharp as any blade.
Fuchsia surrounds the garden; splatter-fest suspended,
dripping red in afternoon air, waiting
its moment to drop a curdling mass of blood.
Winged insects flit and buzz that hemmed-in tune
of small creatures seeking safe passage elsewhere.
The boy with the blade shuffles on yellow runners
through uncut lawn. Daisies bow before him.
He slumps to the grass under the maple tree.
Rigid bark takes weight of shoulders
razor sharp with edgy reminders.
He sits with eyes for mocking gnomes that peep
from a nettled world of banged-out rockery.
On a garden seat his schoolbag sags, life battered from it
by boots of thugs. The bike continues to tilt against
the empty cottage, frame grey now clouds have come.
Cheerless ashen colour matches the mood in his head,
sharp tint of metal in his hand. He fingers the blade,
wondering if his father needs it for the morning.
A leafy blade helicopters to the ground beside the bike’s
front wheel. He gives the Raleigh a last departing look.
Those wheels rescued him today and many times but tomorrow
where would they swoop on him with taunts and spits and digs?
The boy feels nothing at first, human skin punctured
in an invisible way that fails to register with the brain.
That small slit in the fabric of his body drains
like air from a nicked tube. He cannot bear to see
where the puncture is and possesses no means to patch it.
The second slashing feels pricklier than the first.
A slow air of desperation clings to him like silent hisses
in clammy, leaking wrists. The sun comes out again.
He leans back against the tree, feeling no more harshness;
in its ridges sturdiness, softness, a welcome embrace.