Cycling through South Jersey
You felt my body: a small, breathtaking machine
that pedal-pushed and hip-balanced to ride
without hands and winds around my waist.
Why darkness gave the impression
of speed was not important. It was our motion
toward one another and away from town that mattered.
Now cold cuts through my sweater, and I smile
at my unchanged impracticality. I coast home
in tree-bent twists of autumn light and surrender
pent up prayers to neighborhood crows
who drop them into tide pools that dry and leave
residual hope and rings of salt near oil stains shimmering
and fractured like the inside of muscle shells.
These balding tires are a pair of men
spinning stories no one but two old friends care to hear.
Alone on dusky roads, I take your memory out
beside marshes yellowing before winter
charred stalks set in. Gliding, I know a body
can keep a kiss. I trust every thought of you
is the one that always was blanketed
by our fierce hopes, our clumsy fidelity.
ALEXANDRA BARYLSKI is an English teacher. She was raised by the Atlantic, but her new home is near the Pacific. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Echoes of LBI, Ruminate Magazine, Enclave, and IthicaLit. She is the recipient of the 2015 Morton Marcus Poetry Prize. Prose is forthcoming in Between the Lines.
READ AND LISTEN
Issue 9 Playlist