Guest Observation: Bicycle Poem

Saw this on The Writer’s Almanac this morning. If you quote it or reproduce it, note that it’s by Deborah Slicer (of whom I know nothing), and it’s Copyright 2003. It’s also good to note, as the Almanac does, that the volume in which it appears, “The White Calf Kicks,” may be purchased via (support your local poet!).

Outside of Richmond, Virginia, Sunday

(Deborah Slicer, Copyright 2003)

It’s the kind of mid-January afternoon—

the sky as calm as an empty bed,

fields indulgent,

black Angus finally sitting down to chew—

that makes a girl ride her bike up and down the same muddy track of road

between the gray barn and the state highway

all afternoon, the black mutt

with the white patch like a slap on his rump

loping after the rear tire, so happy.

Right after Sunday dinner

until she can see the headlights out on the dark highway,

she rides as though she has an understanding with the track she’s opened up in

the road,

with the two wheels that slide and stutter in the red mud

but don’t run off from under her,

with the dog who knows to stay out of the way but to stay.

And even after the winter cold draws tears,

makes her nose run,

even after both sleeves are used up,

she thinks a life couldn’t be any better than this.

And hers won’t be,

and it will be very good.

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