Fall 2012: Issue 92

Ansel Elkins

are really about death

a friend tells me

but I am newly betrothed

& believe this marriage dream

is really about my impending

wedding—not dying: the pair

of us riding a high-wheeled bicycle

a penny farthing he pedaled

& I seated atop the throne

of his shoulders (quite appropriate for the circus

of our courtship)

shouted I’ll die if we fall

              Then keep me close he replied

now I know why this machine was dubbed


down uneven streets we wobbled

trying hard to avoid children

or crashing into predictable old

ladies laden with baskets of groceries

& complaining about bills

all the while we kept on cycling

swerving down cobblestone lanes narrowly

escaping disastrous collapses

all the while my love pedaling

steering us & balancing the weight

of me on his shoulders as I pointed onwards

the way west

glee of two wheels

whose spinning momentum

swept us forward with no particular destination

just the sheer To hell with the world! joy

of cycling together into that supreme

slow-dying sun as it slipped

westward into the evening water

how we rode with no hands in our own

private parade of years