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.

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.

Catch Me a Moon

catch me a moon once meant
fix my broken heart
(at sixteen, when in pieces
my heart’s only remedy were
the silver splashes of light)

catch me a moon now means
give me a moment
(a moment to myself, to bike,
to run, to remedy stress
with silver splashes of light)

catch me a moon was a story
I wrote (and memorized,
reciting its words as I tackled
giant hills on my way to school
under silver splashes of light)

catch me a moon is a poem
I write (holding my mended heart
as I rediscover the well-lit path
that will carry me—carry all of us—
as we reach for silver splashes of light.

Black Bicycle Tires

At sixteen
(almost seventeen)
I wrote in my journal:
“Busiest street in the city
a solid two days in a row
you crossed it in between
rushes of cars, slow uphill
in gray breath-spilling morning,
heated gasps down the slope in the afternoon.

‘God is sending me miracles!’
you scream out, because
nothing moves as quickly
as black bicycle tires
when it’s almost summer.”

At thirty-one
(almost thirty two),
I write in my journal:
“Silver or magenta,
mountain or road,
black bicycle tires
erase the pain
before and behind me,
a majestic blur of
rubber on pavement,
a remedy for adolescence,
adulthood,
life.

Give Me till May

You come from Latin meaning away from
and that’s exactly where I’m sending you—
away from me, from my scale, from the fears for my future
take my backside with you and
don’t let the door hit you on the way out
because I will beat you
work you
crunch the tar out of you
until you’ve vanished
and left only
the smoothness of muscled skin,
the absence of all my baby fat,
and the delicious satisfaction
I will taste with my hungry eyes
every time I look down at my belly.