Trail of Glory

All it takes is one pic
Twenty minutes on their blog
And I’m sold
For ten grand we could
Buy that bike
Load up our trailer
And pedal into the
Vacation of my dreams.

You (and everyone else)
Would say we’re as crazy
As Icarus flying his chariot
Too close to the sun.

But I will always know
(we will always know)
That before the wax melted,
He burned a trail of glory
(we’ll burn a trail of glory)
That all of us can see behind us
For the remainder of our lives.

Lovers’ Quarrel

You and I, we have our course and miles set:
a journey plotted amidst winds and trail closures,
a day after torrential rains and their
resulting torrential (all over the path) floods

yet no journey is complete without a moment
of hesitation, of paths lost, of alternate routes

we travel the way I remember (years ago,
a different bike carried me to work this way)
but the path is twisted, filled with tree roots
and curves that you’ve told me you dislike.

at our usual high-speed pace (we made a pact
to beat our record), the sidewalk jumps up and grabs
us. like disconsolate lovers, we tumble to the ground,
rolling over each other’s metal, skin, plastic, blood.

i lie for perhaps five minutes, adjusting my headphones
so not to miss my story, thinking perhaps my leg is broken

there could be phone calls to make and i’ll need a new
helmet, but when i stand, i grin at my bruised-up,
perfectly movable leg, and gasp at you tangled beside
me, my partner in this determined destiny we’ve set.

when i lift you and turn the wheel, you too have suffered
scrapes in our lovers’ quarrel. i adjust your chain, wiping
my greasy fingers on our towel, swipe the broken pieces of
the cateye to the ground, and we are off once again.

“that was only mile three,” I whisper, and your unscathed
silver frame, your perfectly intact black tires, lead me
into the wind, the pain of our bruises washed away with
spring’s air, water from the overflowing creek, and love.

Perfectly Beautiful

how ironic that as
i come around this curve
to fight this hill
with what little strength
my legs have left,
“A Candle in the Wind”
blasts in my ears.

it’s not that i don’t think i can
(oh how i know i can,
“The Little Engine that Could”
still my favorite book)
it’s my speed, hovering
like a coffee hot fudge sundae
on the path before me,
enticing me with what before
was effortless.

i push myself harder,
watching the odometer dip
below 10 mph for the first time
this morning, tears of frustration
popping out into my eyes
as Elton John tells Marilyn
how she didn’t know what
to do when the rains came in
(this wind blows it in now,
gray streaks of sky
and hollow clouds)

I see the light at the end of my journey
(quite literally, a stoplight)
and I push, push, push
until I have arrived, crossed the street,
and just as “Sky Blue and Black”
comes on, the black shadows
of endless boats dot the sparkling blue
choppy waves of water,
the perfectly beautiful view
for which I’ve worked so hard,
the perfectly beautiful song that,
as I coast down the hill,
brings tears of admiration
out from my eyes,
ready to rest on my
windburned, grinning cheeks.

Dear Mr. Horn(y)

I know I’m a head-to-toe beauty
in my bike helmet,
oversized headphones,
wool mittens and socks,
and navy blue-with-white-stripes
long underwear
worn underneath
my butt-padded
bike capris.

But really?
It’s six a.m.
and your honking horn
and horny cat calls
are making you
appear a little desperate.

Get a life.
(Though I must thank you
for the poetic inspiration)

What I Learned Today

One: squirrels are suicidal
dashing in front of tires in a race
that didn’t exist before
they saw me coming

Two: canals are the best
places to ride a bike along
(flat and meandering,
tree filled and peaceful)

Three: once again, fresh
homemade ice cream from
Bonnie Brae upholds its
“beautiful hill” standard.

Four: my girls are fish, in
and out of the water no
holds barred, ready for summer,
ready for anything.

Five: two hundred joggers in
Wash Park may look like a race to them,
but it’s just another Saturday in
Denver, just what my girls should see.

Six: the liquor store is also
known as the “licorice store”
because they have wine for us and
lollipops for them: a treat for all.

Seven: playing outside with
the neighbor kids is just as magical
for this generation as it was for mine,
just as free, and just the way to end the day.

In This Moment

in this moment

I can find the pace I need to get me there stronger
Mythili can “read” a whole page in her elaborate story
Riona can say “I wuv you” seven times
Isabella can brush her top teeth by herself

and someone on the other side of the world
or right across town
is giving birth to a perfectly healthy baby
while another lost soul is pointing a gun to his head

in this moment

I can hear Alanis Morisette motivating my pedals
my students can see twenty pictures on Google
of the cedar trees they’ve never heard of
the teachers can track me down for brownies

and someone right across town
or on the other side of the world
is pounding a woman’s skull into the drywall,
while another is handing a ten-year-old his first pair of shoes.

in this moment

I will live
I will love
I will remember what I have
what we all have
(somewhere within us)

Baby Number One

standing next to my bike
(baby number one)
just before sunrise
I adjust the straps on the saddlebag
and ask myself why I
didn’t pack gloves

the door clicks open
swings shut
forcing my heart rate to
race as if I’ve already begun
the uphill ride

my breath spills out
in gray wisps of
below freezing air as
I take a step around the corner
to see what has materialized

there she stands
barefoot in
her polar bear purple pajamas
her fuzzy morning braids
dangling on either side of her
grinning face, her arms out

“I came to say good-bye.”
I reach for my should-be-asleep
daughter, wrapping my warmth
around her shivering skin,
my always-a-morning-person girl,
my baby number one.