All summer long the teenager will
walk the towpath. Holding the reigns,
letting the horse know the way.
A rope smiles as it connects
the barge and worker. People
float along the canal, some point,
others chat. The teenage boy
with his high viz and slack hold.
His head stays straight, but sometimes
drops. The up and down life of a canal.
Everything put up in front of you,
only the clouds above meander.
But he has no time for reaching
the sky. His teenage years are a tunnel
of time. The weight of what he pulls
is not yet felt.


Gareth Culshaw lives in Wales. His first collection is forthcoming this year from FutureCycle. He is encouraged by his best friend, his collie Jasper.