Out of the Gate
My bike was a pony once.
Lacking all originality,
I called her Buttermilk, after
Dale Evans’ fairy buckskin,
but after all, I was only
We rode the trails of north chicago
cantered through long-armed elm-roofed tunnels,
barely escaping their scrabbling fingers,
across acres of glass-strewn treacherous
desert concrete, along the weedy mountain ridge
of the el. She picked her way with intelligent care,
one delicate black hoof after the other
through the perilous car-infested rapids
of sheridan road.
Wherever we roamed on that big range
she never let me down.
She stayed like a quarterhorse
when I dropped the reins
and ran like a thoroughbred out of the gate
when I raced her with Donny
whose bike had no name at all.
Now I’m on a new pony, waiting
at the gate, under a leafless roof
looking down the long stretch,
sitting slumped in the saddle
surrounded by fences,
no legs to pump the peddles
I wonder how fast
she can go?
Title Image: Photo by Greg Laychak