The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

It's Hard to Push a Wheelchair with a Tree in your Finger

It’s only a splinter Cosmo, Dad says, it’ll come out
with a pair of tweezers. It’s not like you have a whole
tree in there.

But Dad is wrong. That splinter might not be the size
of you, but it feels like a whole tree in there.
Every time I push my wheels, I can only think of you.
And I want it out of my finger.

Like I want you out of the garden.
I want someone to dig up your roots,
put you on the back of a van and move you
so very far from here.

Maybe an island, with some palm trees for friends,
where the only way to get there is by steps and stairs,
so there is no way I could ever visit.

And then some day, I’ll be able to look out of the window,
see a space at the end of the garden, and I’ll have forgotten
you were ever there.

About the Writer

Stephen Lightbown

Stephen Lightbown is a poet who writes extensively but not exclusively about life as a wheelchair user. Stephen has been widely published and is the author of two poetry collections for adults: Only Air and The Last Custodian (both from Burning Eye Books). In 2023 he will publish his first poetry book for children through Troika Books. He lives in Bristol in the UK.