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by bicycle

it's not good or bad it's how you get around these

tiny hedged-in lanes that criss-cross town

maneuverable only by bicycle because the larger

roads are for sheep and cows who have to move

together is a brief season when there are two ruts

in the mud instead of one but rain romancing always

leads to rust and that of course leads to one place only

hope there isn't a waiting list and a reprimand

waiting when you arrive at the repair shop smile

and speak quietly and give your explanation

it is not a place for banter go to the barber

these men were all once like the boy I knew

would end up here when I watched him

run the bicycle chain along his chin to see

how it felt bumpy he said I said you have grease

on your chin fooled around with a shuttlecock and left

it at that     he doesn't recognize me turns away

murmuring to enter the back room to enter

the back room is every non-apprentice's dream

no facts but lots of rumors that the vicar has the firstborn

lamb shorn to pad his seat that Mrs. Stavely once slashed

her own tires in a fit of pique which is why she doesn't

have one now she walks with a cane and is a lesson

to us all this is possible but what of the stories about

that room and the bicycles upside down on benches

and those men with the clear eyes and hands in their pockets

singing and the spokes all spinning in response

--Matthea Harvey

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