An Ode to My Bike – Anna Marie Yanny

Baby girl, I love you.
At 4 years old
My clumsy hands first roll you into blackberry bushes, 
All wobble and quake.
I pedal fast, without training wheels.
My dad holds me up by my hoodie 
& when he lets go
I fall.

Baby girl, I love you.
A lifetime later
My clumsy legs hold you
Down trails and city streets.
I am afraid of cars,
But even so
You are an escape from dorm squabbles and economics.
a way to soccer practice 
and a way to get lost.

My roommate and I 
We are
Right turns and headlamps
Owls and islands
Bike lanes and front yards 
We are 
merging with mundane bravery
We are
milk crates strapped to our racks.

This time
I don’t fall. 

Baby girl, 
Another lifetime passes.
My clumsy heart trades leather chain for real gears,
and a boy with glitter eyes.
He gives you to me on a Thursday.
Your tires wave and crest,
Burn with my thighs,
Hold me close.

We bike for miles and your frame steadies my rainfly. 
My hands smell like rubber and backcountry coffee.
You are mine.

Baby girl. 

It is a Saturday when 
You are stolen
& He is gone.
I never knew how your brakes worked –
That was always his thing –
And the police report won’t let me forget this. 
I am wobble, I am quake.

Baby girl. 

I use my first paycheck preemptively.
Buy your frame and in turn, your memory. 
I doll you up with fenders and a rack,
fix my own breaks.

My legs, kissed with grease,
learn to stand taller on your pedals.
I begin to ride smooth, 
through sunrises 
on the way to work
and sunsets on the way home.

For the first time 

I am not lonely  

past thumbs up from bus stops
and cars that aren’t so scary
Here, my calves are a gift 
and my chest a burn. 
With all my quake and wobble 
you are steady.
Baby girl, I love you.