GS (1982 / Adelaide, South Australia)

Pink With Streamers

I was five and it was new.

Shiny and clean.

With streamers of pink and purple plastic,

A basket with white plastic daisies on it,

And a bell that went “bring-bring.”

(To let people know that I was coming.)

“Get out of the way, ” it would say.

“Here we come! ”

or just “Hi! ”

It was pink.

Just like the streamers.

Pink, the color of girls.

The color of my cheeks.

The color of the icing on the cake,

the day I got my freedom.

The color of my stuffed elephant,

that rode shot gun in the daisy basket.

The color of my kitten’s tongue that wouldn’t.

It’s name was Huffy.

It was already named when I got it.

Right there on the side.

Huffy, in big white letters,

too big to change.

That’s alright, it’s a good name.

Except when dad said,

“There you go getting all huffy”

and I wasn’t near my bike.

I was eight and it was old.

The streamers were gone,

flying one by one to freedom.

The bell went “brrrrr.”

No more “ing.”

The daisies had become yellow polka dots.

Huffy had become Huf-y.

And the pink had become patchy

with streaks of orangey rust.

My parents brought home a newer model (named Schwinn) .

But it was purple, not the color of the icing.

And it didn’t have the streamers,

Or the bell to talk to people,

Or the basket for my immobile friends.

I was too big they said.

I could go faster they said.

“This was growing up, ” they said.

“This was better, ” they said.

And I believed them.

And lost an old friend.

And flipped Schwinn.

And cried all the way home.

Huffy wouldn’t have let this happen.

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Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken

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