Boy on a Bicycle by James Roderick Burns

A boy rides a bicycle before the first world war. He is eighteen, almost nineteen – a man, really – and wears his new uniform with pride. He is cycling along an embankment on the outskirts of a small town. The sun is halfway towards noon, the wind tousling his light brown hair; his pinkish lips are mouthing a music-hall ditty under his sparse moustache. He is going to see a girl he used to know.

He has no idea he will be dead in a week, his legs thrown out the wrong way under a snarl of barbed wire. Now he marvels at the warmth of his muscles as the chain drives the wheels around. Now his tongue tastes of mint and apples.


Date: 2001

By: James Roderick Burns (1972- )

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