One Poem by Joe Pickard

At the park

the kid scared of water
is playing tightrope
at the edge of the pond.

I’m watching
while my girlfriend continues
to read at the opposite end
of the bench.

His sister, a year older,
is yelling at him to stop,
having probably done the same
as him a year ago.

I have lost my page
reread the same sentence
four times already
between drawing on a cigarette.

His grandad is absent
while his nan has asked
him to come and feed the ducks
three times, but only remembers
the first.

She has finished her chapter
and is ready to walk on,
I am still settled on smoking
sat on the bench.

The kid is right on the edge
and a breeze could sway
him one way or the other

and she has gone,
closed her book,
expecting me to follow
without asking.

He is rolling
on the ball of his foot
the shriek of geese
make him lose concentration.

I hesitate but follow,
flicking the butt like
a crust of bread for the ducks

and she didn’t even notice
the kid at the edge of the pond
and I have lost the plot and
don’t know if he will fall.


Joe Pickard works as a journalist in London. He studied English with Creative Writing at the University of Chester. He has had writing published in Crossways, Confluence, Prole, and elsewhere. He has recently established an online literary journal, Pulp Poets Press, which is currently looking for submissions.

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