Evel Knievel Jumps Over My Family
A floodlit Wembley. Lisa, the producer,
swears into her walkie-talkie. We Edwardses,
four generations, stand in line,
between ramps: Smile for the cameras.
My great grandparents twiddle their thumbs
in wheelchairs, as Lisa tells us to relax,
Mr Knievel has faced much bigger challenges:
double deckers, monster trucks, though the giraffe
is urban legend. Evel Knievel enters,
Eye of the Tiger drowned by cheers,
his costume tassels, his costume a slipstream,
his anxious face an act to pump the crowd,
surely. My mother, always a worrier,
asks about the ambulance. Evel Knievel
salutes, accelerates towards the ramps.
I close my eyes, then open them:
is this what heaven feels like,
some motorcycle Liberace overhead,
wheels resting on air? Are these flashes
from 60,000 cameras the blinding light
coma survivors speak of? Before he lands,
there’s just time to glance along the line:
though no one’s said a thing,
all we Edwardses are holding hands.
from My Family and Other Superheroes (Seren, 2014), © Jonathan Edwards 2014, used by permission of the author.