This earth our home
Before Pesach

My third bicycle

My first bicycle was hot pink.
When I was eight and skipped PE
for weeks on end you hired coach
to tutor me. She taught me

how to catch a frisbee,
not flinch from a softball,
ride a bike without training wheels.
My second was electric blue

and I rode it barefoot around
the curves of Contour Drive
past magnolia and honeysuckle
with wind in my hair.

When I grew hips I put the bike away.
I felt like a galumphing goose
next to you, perfect petite
size zero sparrow.

By college when my boyfriend
invited me to bike across Nantucket
I demurred, sure he wouldn't
want me if he saw me huff and puff.

But I remember your red Schwinn
with a tiny seat bolted to the back
for me. I remember the freedom
of skimming along Contour

once I was old enough to go
further than you could see.
Mom, today I bought a bicycle.
It's black and sturdy, German,

a bike for a middle-aged woman.
When I go riding with my son
I'll say a shehecheyanu. Maybe
I'll feel you perched behind me.

They say the body never forgets
these old motions. I wouldn't mind
forgetting how to resent
every ounce and inch

that made me not like you.
From where you are now
can you teach me how to thank
this clunky, sturdy frame?

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