Kansas goes brown in the winter.
Desperation will tell you that
brown is sister to gold and that even a dead leaf can sparkle.
But a swath of monochrome posing as a jewel
won’t fool anyone for long.
The bike keeps the lungs alert
and the demons from freezing solid.
I ride through dirt alleys, past the hoarder’s house and his junkyard doberman.
I tell the dog he’s a cliche’ and he loses control
of his left ear, tilting his head, his mind defanged.
He knows he’s somehow been insulted.
Past the high fences of the country club
is a park where burrs pop from dead grasses,
clinging like orphans to frayed sleeves and new socks.
On Mondays and Wednesdays a lone gray haired man can be found hitting golf balls
into the great Kansas nothing. On Tuesdays and Thursdays
a different man stands in the opposite corner of the field, hitting them back.
They live like pen pals.
There are gaps in the tree line.
The day comes that I hop the curb and enter the woods
to eat twigs and let low branches ping my spokes.
The bike grows claws and I lose all language.
A trail is nothing but a path worn from use, and a life
is nothing more than a straight line, it’s curves imperceptible
to the god eye. Even when a single day
feels like one sawtoothed hour after another.
I don’t know if the trail was here before me
or if I dug it out with my own blind will.
Your shadow is there because you’re blocking the light and
repetition makes even a dull whisper feel like stone.
And then there’s always the possibility that
someone knows the little secret you keep in the woods.
I ride the trail three days a week, leaving four days
for someone else to claim my dream as their own.