Fall 2005 • Vol. XXVII No. 4 Poetry |

Used One Speed, Princeton

I painted my bike purple, it's finding a brown to fade to. Along the long slow curve of streets gelato-colored houses change in dusk to colors of dove. On my one speed, life is plain. Here the mudflats are called a river. I am feeling new muscles in my thighs. My fat fenders guard me from mud-splat. Look at these tires: wide as trenches. My second-grade teacher said "Sit up straight." My ex-fiancé used to put his hand through his hair, make a fist, say "That's just them trying to keep the working class docile." The houses dim, colors of soap, the shaped kind you put in little dishes, that shrink and melt to goo. I sometimes feel rather shaky but that's okay. I guard against regret, disapproval, those middle-aged emotions. I am still young, I feel I am. If I wanted I could ride no-hands, my bike so steady, arms out like that guy in Goya's Third of May, 1808, with the white shirt, his eyes wide open, facing death. I don't.    I squint my eyes against gn

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