The Day

We cycle over beech nuts.  

He points out our breath,  

columns of sunlight  

shining through the changing trees 

 and the damp-heavy river smell.  

I’m worried about today’s  

spelling and times table tests –  

I struggle with witch and which 

We practise my sixes and eights  

as we pedal past cloudy-faced kids  

and parents.  

He helps me across  

the busy road, laughs at the  

grumpy caretaker who sighs  

and swings his keys as he lets the morning masses  

pass through the gates.  

I put my bike  

in the bike shed.  

He kisses me  

tells me not to worry about stuff.  

I love you, have a good day  

see you later, kidda, I’ll be here 

at half three. Good luck 


I wave through the window  

as overhead a plane is coming into land.  

He pushes his bike through playground puddles  

and turns to blow me one last kiss.  

Puts on his helmet and adjusts the strap. 


And it’s five years later  

and he never came back. 

Copyright: from Bright Bursts of Colour (Bloomsbury Education, 2020), © Matt Goodfellow 2020, used by permission of the author and publisher.

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