Soloman’s Child

March 21, 2007

Shortly after bike number 3 was taken from me
I saw stolen bike number 2 – tethered in town.

It was only a shopper,
but there was the headlight,
the fragile trace of doodled scratches,
the wonky brake cord, rusted wires.

Me and my friend, we waited with it
I rang my boyfriend who came down quickly.
We were thinking: crackhead, desperate,
shifty- could do anything – best take care.

We braced ourselves. Tongues licking lips
like thin lines of melon. Palms like netting,
ready for a fight – when she came round the corner-
our 3 hearts died.

She was in her first year – missing parents,
not from here. She was tiny, pretty,
lots of hair. She was not
a drug dealer.

She’d bought my bike on Narborough Road
the second hand place, with the fridges
and the wardrobes. She’d got it in October,
had it 6 months. Only 7 – since I’d bought it.

This was a case of Solomon’s child.
The bike locked up.The owners riled.
She rung her hands, I chewed my lip
Neither of us knowing what to think.

I took her number and let her go
and two days later the coppers phoned.
They said the law was on my side
they called me quite within my rights

Did I want my vehicle seized?
The nice blonde girl, with small white teeth.
The girl who’d meant my bike no harm,
Who’d never have wanted any part.

Tell my bike I’ll always love it
It’s got a good home
that counts for something.
Tell the girl that she can keep it

I’ll send it postcards,
Birthdays, Christmas.
And if it questions
when it’s older

Tell them they can
always phone me.

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