It’s Not the Years that Separate Us, Sweetheart, Just the Miles
by Doug Hester
Mud leaps into the gears, smears the grease with wet
dirt as I splash through the stream. Rubber treads slip
on stones then catch, leading the bike up the red clay
to a lonely trail. Sunlight rides low under the boughs,
a bottle of thin hot glare spilt in the woods, sloshing
against tree trunks and dirty with shadow, the yellow
and black of hornet fury streaming from a nest too close
to the path. The big ring spins with my legs, turning over,
reflecting angry yellow, but returning to the dark each time,
to the resistance that propels me. Who understands women?
I can’t get away from this one, my thoughts buzzing as I
pedal, trying to escape from conversations that cycle back
into play. I shift away and guess at the gear that will climb
the next hill and fly between stubborn trees growing
among rocks. I pedal faster, passing dry creek beds,
broken bottles, shadows from spent days, all easier
to replace than repair.
I’ve always wanted to write something about a bicycle.
Doug Hester is an academic anesthesiologist who lives in Nashville, TN. In addition, he is studying in Murray State University’s MFA program.