NaPoem12 – March Gravel Grinders Race


I am skipping Poems 10 & 11, because they were placeholders. Not sure this is much better.

March Gravel Grinder’s Race

Hundred-seven miles and, of course, someone crossed the finish, first, and before the rain, though the winner was the Oklahoma mud, the red mud that mired bikes and the truck sent to fetch and carry, the mud stirred with gravel and bits of last year’s grass, the mud that clung to tires, pedals, frames, hands and faces. Then, I saw you, face and chest, smeared with diagonal streaks of the mud we mixed that summer day, you, splayed, arms flung like a willing sacrifice, fingers stretched wide and flattened against the cliff wall, sweat tracing red runnels down to your unbuttoned frayed jeans, head turned right, the sun a high diagonal flashing off the cliff and the left planes of your face and shoulder, which were exposed till nearly faded out of the photograph, like you soon would out of life. I wanted you there the day of the bike race. The only photo I kept was a black triangle of frame, the underneath of a seat, white water bottles strapped to the down tube, pedals cropped out, a V of legs behind, gender unknown, everything coated in red-orange mud. The first place finisher – a fifteen-year-old boy – crossed the line and bared his chest, unmarked.


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