Like Riding a Bike
by Jennifer Lagier

It took months
to work up courage to try,
then weeks of struggle
to learn how to ride
my adult aunt’s clunky bike.

No child-size bicycle
with training wheels for me.
Hard-headed and tenacious,
I teetered and fell.
Scraped elbows and knees.
Scuffed shoes, tore pants.

Survived crashes and tumbles.
Practiced and practiced.
Despite bleeding wounds,
stubbornly climbed back aboard,
mastered balance and movement,
persevered till proficient.

PHOTO: The author in the 1950s—date and photographer unknown.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was a timid, clumsy kid who learned to ride a bike using my aunt’s full-sized version. I was too short to reach the seat, so had to learn how to balance and pump the pedals standing up. Like sex, it was a painful process.

jen-author photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Lagier has published 10 books and in literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, and helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday  readings. Forthcoming books include Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), and Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Visit her at