Mother is a Cyclo

Mother is a cyclo.
She streams like platelets
along arterials, swims like a fish
down Duong Nguyen Thi Minh
she slows, but never stops.

Mother is a cyclo.
She is a whole family on one chassis
her body is strong
she flows like the tide:
her movement orders the city.

Mother is a cyclo.
Industrious with ropes
she can carry fifteen birdcages,
a display of kites, a block of ice:
she is as big or small as she needs to be.

Mother is a cyclo.
Nondescript, she buzzes and weaves
through Saigon street traffic
always incognito:
she hurries just enough.

Mother is a cyclo.
She gets by on a sniff of fuel
and a slip of silk,
constant inside service:
her wheels spin on instinct.

Mother is a cyclo:
an unconscious convoy,
gridlocked along a sleeping fault line.

Vanessa Page


Vanessa Page is a Queensland poet. She has published four collections of poetry including Confessional Box (Walleah Press) which was the winner of the 2013 Anne Elder Award. Her most recent collection is Tourniquet (Walleah Press) which was launched in Brisbane in 2018. Vanessa blogs at

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