say love is an old bike
dodging cars in the summer,
built of rust and dirt and spin
and two spoked stars:

kisses falling into the long lope
between hills and heat,
the height of the seat,
your face like a kid with a bell

or the swell of a shout,
the flash of a wheel as the sun
hits it, or both brakes squealing
as the wind skims down

to meet us, hands in your hair:
and we take the slope
like kings in the swing
of things, arms out, heads high
even as the dip rolls dry.

Sarah Stanton grew up in Perth, Western Australia. Halfway through university, she abandoned a promising career in not having much of a career when she transferred from an opera performance course into a Chinese language major, having fallen for the Middle Kingdom more or less overnight. Three years, two exchange programs and one potential firework accident later, she has settled in Beijing as a freelance translator and editor specialising in contemporary literature. As a writer, she has been published in a variety of magazines and indie projects, including Clarkesworld, Voiceworks, Hunger Mountain and Asian Cha Journal. She is a recipient of the Talus Prize and was recently shortlisted for the James White Award. She blogs at and tweets @theduckopera.

When I was a kid, I spent most of my afternoons whizzing around on a second-hand bike half my size. It didn't have any gears and it barely had any brakes and it didn't have a cool paint job like the other kids' bikes had, but for me it was a breathless chariot to something better. I scrumped an awful lot of mulberries from the seat of that bike. And years later, when I grew up and fell in love, it felt like nothing so much as coasting down the side of a hill with the sunset in my face like I used to when I was young. Descent is all about that feeling.




Copyright 2009