Running in a Pokey Wonderland – by Stuart Pickford

For Tim Pocock


As an act of rebellion, we run at lunch.
Like always, you turn up naked
except for vest and loincloth shorts. 
The trees wear frozen expressions,
not gloves and bobble hat like me. 
While I do star jumps from a boot camp,
you faff around with your GPS watch.
Beyond the moon, a satellite raises its thumb—
we’re off. You tell me about your wedding
and Harriers, your mates with proper names.
We pass a eucalyptus dreaming Oz.
Gulls insist on the same question.
About to point out the unidentified bird
on the unidentified gatepost, you barge in
with lap times, split times, See the minutes,
how they run, you wink; then pause 
the watch for seven seconds at the road. 
Later you log the data, ring me: 
The good thing about being married,
you can really spend time on your stats.



Stuart Pickford lives in Harrogate and teaches in a local comprehensive school. He is married with three children. His second collection, Swimming with Jellyfish (2016), was published by smith/doorstop.

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