Posts Tagged ‘bicycle’

Because our conversation
feels like riding a bike uphill,  
I think of gears. I think
of how easy it is to shift
lower, how a simple flick
of the thumb makes the impossible
possible. Where are the gears
for love? There must be better
ways to use our teeth
than biting words. There must
be a series of notched wheels
in the heart that allow us
to move forward with less force,
some mechanism to make
the chain hop from one sprocket
to another, changing the way
we engage. I want to find that gadget,
those gears, the ones that help us
hear each other, the ones
that help us say what must be said,
the simple tools that allow us
to move forward at all.

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Standing beneath the pinion tree

I am almost dry, while all around me


the rain almost attacks the road.

I lean my head against its shagging bark


and watch the world transform from dust

to shine. Thunder rends the darkened sky.


I knew when I began the ride

the rain was impatient.


I knew it would be no gentle shower.

How odd to trick myself into being


caught in a storm. How often I choose the gale.

Small bits of bark tear off in the wind,


fall to the cactus, the dirt. Eventually,

I am no longer content to watch


and pull my bike into the rain. Wasn’t

this what I wanted somehow, to be


unguarded, exposed, out? Within a minute

my clothes stick to my skin, and I shiver,


in part from the chill, in part because

I, too, have become a shining thing.


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After the training wheels come off

she wobbles and crashes and jumps up

to cry again. She pushes her helmet back

into place and rubs her hands of the gravel.

I force myself not to offer advice. Some

things must come from the center.

Vivian picks up the bike and straightens

the wheels, finds her place on the seat.

The pedals are not too far for her to reach.

She is ripe for this skill, and mostly willing.

She jerks on the handlebars, over rights

herself and falls again. There is such a thing

as too much right. She once told me

that if you do not learn to cartwheel

before you are eight, then you never will.

Something in the vestibular system, I wonder.

I don’t know if it’s true, but I do know

there are certain windows that close.

An eye that is unused in the first few months

of life will never learn to see, though

its parts are all in working order. Perhaps

there are windows for the heart, too,

so that if by a certain age it does not learn how

to get up and try again after it has fallen,

it will stay down and never learn how

to love beyond itself. Come on, I say under

my breath, you can do it, I say to my daughter.

And then out loud I say, Yes, yes, dear girl,

you are doing it. You are doing it, I say

as she falls, falls again, and gets back up.

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