Morris
Learning to Ride A Bike–As I Learned
by Alice Morris

Allow for many falls — some
bloody.
Cry and howl
devastated, but know
every kid on the street is watching.
Fiercely,
get back onto that old, 26-inch-frame too
high for sitting.
Inch feet onto pedals — standing —
just keep knuckle-gripping those distant handlebars pretending you don’t
know your
legs are trembling. Watch the front tire
move forward — slowly!
Now focus on that thing they keep calling, Balance! It’s
okay to avoid further
pain by
quickly slipping one foot back onto the blacktop.
Remind yourself that all the big kids only seem to ride
so sleek as though they were born
to it, but they too, more than once, had to kiss this road, and soon,
under your own acquired skills you will ride —
very nonchalantly. Then you
will conquer — no-handed — arms extended like wings,
x-rays for shattered fibula — never necessary.
You will learn to peddle so fast there will only be the feel of air against       body — out in a
zone pure — akin to ecstasy.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Age six. The year I learned to ride a bike (1957).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Upon seeing the call for poems about learning to ride a bike, I was compelled to compose a poem in the Abecedarian form, which provided an organic, step-by-step way for me to present the process of how I learned to ride a bike, then claim that all-important, two-wheeled path to childhood freedom.

Morris 1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Alice Morris, a Minnesota native, has poems published in The Broadkill Review, a chapbook — The White Space, The Weekly Avocet, and A Collection of Dance Poems. Work is forthcoming in two anthologies, and Amore–Love Poems. She comes to writing with a background in art — published in a West Virginia textbook and The New York Art Review. She is an active member of The Coastal Writers, and The Rehoboth Beach Writer’s Guild. She lives near the beach with her husband, their cat, and one dog.