Various and Sundry Poetry


easily, it could have been

the stories from emergency room doctors

or crazy city drivers

her parents' early and stern instructions

the generic and perfectly reasonable fear of falling

getting hurt

scraping herself

bleeding somewhere unstoppable

all of this could have stopped her

slowed her at least

the statistics alone

the idea of lowering her chances for...

she knows this and still


all week

she takes the three miles

from her house to the beach,

then back,

take the miles in the hardest gear,

straining, all calves,

she takes the miles

pedals churning, and helmet-less.

it's a delirious rule-breaking

a deliberate omission and

risk risk risk

you're being risky

oh my god do you realize...

you shouldn't...

i wouldn't...

you'd better...

don't you think...

what if...

and yet, as soon as the wheels hit pavement

they connect to the bike

and the bike connects to her body and

just as soon her body

is connecting to everything

movement, wind, the electric discovery

that she alone is responsible for how fast

and how far

and she forgets,

in the first rotation of the first downhill, she forgets

the kinesthetics of risk

the potential fall

a vision of embedded gravel

the ear-splitting whir of an ambulance


she takes to the ride this way

forgetting the inches from this

disaster, tragedy, blood

she takes to the ride this way

can't help it because

on the bike her heart,

her whole heart

is in her calves.