August 30, 2015

a warm send-off
from a 7 and a 5 and 1/2 year old
before I go
snap a photo of them
sitting on my moto
in their princess dresses

dotted by package stores
Massachusetts’state roads
are congested on a Sunday afternoon
88 degrees
coffee makes my
mouth swell shut
with dehydration
the engine heat
ripples between my knees

heart drops with pleasure
when another woman passes by
going east on 20
her bike packed up too
we recognize one another
slow down to swap smiles

when traffic dissipates
it is a joy to zoom along
19 west
wind blows my lashes
back into my eyes
ease off the throttle
to pass through Hazardville

breakdown in East Granby
at the 20/187 junction
wonder if I’m stuck here?
a mother stops to check on me
says her name is Melissa
tells me to call if I wind up stranded
texts me later to follow up

stranded on the road
with a dead engine
another biker pulls up behind me
to divert traffic
helps me push my moto 80 feet
into the nearest parking lot
I tell him
he is my guardian angel today

find out my insurance
does not cover the $100 tow
I am too broke to afford

pull my bike apart
to figure out what’s wrong
radiator and oil levels look fine
but the ground cables on my battery
are loose
sweat under the afternoon sun
while I fix my bike
the black grease on my hands
leaves streaks across my face
when I swipe at dripping perspiration

my lower back
aches with indignation
the pain makes me
grit my teeth
while I shift round the seat
seeking a better position

rainstorms and dusk
turn the road silver
humidity fogs up my helmet
so I ride with the face open
feel drops sting my cheeks and nose

mist hovers over the fields
along 44
makes New York’s countryside seem mystical

hunker down for the night
in Poughkeepsie
40% high school graduation rate
he says
70% of students below the poverty line
he says
catch up with an old friend
after a decade apart
reminiscing about days at Penn
and taking stock of our lives