Bike VisitingA Poem by holly
There's no dignity in aging - maybe that's why some kids understand the old instinctively
Summertime sets me an' Jansey free.
In winter, we got big girls' bikes.
Eight was old enough our mothers said.
Old enough to just turn up at noon
for sandwiches and dinner right at six -
sometimes we miss them,
never hear our mothers screaming
out the back doors, miles away
from freedom - we meet each other in the street.
She on her red, me on my blue,
we always half believe that we have ponies -
small town cowgirls riding metal horses
in the time of "Wagon Train" an' "Davey."
Where do ya wanna go today?
Is there an answer other than "Explore!"?
I don't remember it, if so.
Our tennis shoes flapping at our heels,
our hair exploding out into the wind,
our shorts cling wetly to our skinny legs
with all the yellow-purple bruises, 'cause we collided
sometimes with the gravel on old back roads.
Off Hankins Road past Sippo Creek the roads turn poor:
no paving and the gravel thinned, 'cause all was back there
was some run down farms and houses that we dare ourselves
to wander. Old buildings suck us in.
Policemen chase us out, "...before ya kill yerselves,
ya stupid girls." We wait until we're on the road
to laugh at them - what did they know?
We were immortal, and gold clouds swung
out from our wingtips as we soared
(our horses turned to Pegasi). Then down
to reddish earth again and just ahead
our favorite spot. The place we know we're welcome
grows bigger as we pump our tired legs.
Our bikes, now horses once again, head toward
the treeless yard and broken barn as though
they were unwatered and unfed. As we are.
There they are - Mr. John and Mrs. Lily Prince.
Well named, these ancient Princes wait for us
with cold hard water and some apples from their tree.
There's but the one, and it unfit for climbing.
It's dying in the dust and well water's drying.
"Next year," she tells us, "we just have to move.
Our daughter says we can't keep up and this
old place will be the death of us." Her eyes,
in clouds with cataracts and longing, search
our dirty faces for an answer. We had none.
Now he shows us through the naked barn:
Jennie died two years before, laid down inside
her stall and couldn't rise and Mr. John he cried
again for his old cow, his friend, his longtime friend.
He held our hands, then let them go to dry his eyes.
"Wish I could get that well to water up as easy,"
the old Prince jokes and turns us back to see his fields.
Standing still and gazing toward the sky:
"Only grew tomatoes and some beans this year" he says.
"Just too hard to work the clay it seems, and Mother's hands
scarcely stand the canning any more." So I look down
as if to find some comfort in the dust. Not quite sad,
but wishing for a something that I don't quite know,
I look at Janesy. She's staring back at me and making
squiggles with her brows. It means, "I'm hungry" or
"I'm bored." We aren't at one for once. She wants to go.
I ask the mister if we can feed the single chicken.
So we get feed and wander out behind the barn
to where she spends her days (her nights within
the house where no rat takes her), and Janesy
kicks me. She wants to go. Spitefully, I take a
long, long time to feed the bird. The next day,
when my blue horse and I return, I go alone.
© 2010 holly
Shelved in 1 LibraryAdded on May 15, 2010
Last Updated on May 17, 2010
near Cleveland, OH
AboutDo we get to choose who we are, or are we limited by where we live, how we grow up, what we do to earn money? My unchosen facts: I'm old, live in the eastern Mid-West US, grew up with a huge chip on m.. more..
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