Beach at Hollywood Beach

How to ride a bike in South Florida
by Stephanie Casio

     1. Wrap your legs with four layers of sweatpants like bubble wrap. Don’t mind that your sweat from being outside so long has soaked through a pair and a half.
2. Try not to let the fresh sweat glazed onto your forehead bother you too much. Those two seconds of wind hitting you before you fall down will cool you off.
3. Make mom and dad proud by getting back up after having a heavy metal machine collapse onto your eight-year-old body, that’ll really make them proud.
4. Try, try, try.
5. Don’t give up when you feel like you’re having heat stroke.
6. But also drink some water every once in a while. Like holy crap kid don’t make mom go to the hospital for something as lame and preventable as heatstroke. Again.
7. Accept that the gravel bits in your driveway are now a part of your skin, that the lodged-in pieces belong in your system like water and blood and salt.
8. When you fall on the ground — because you will, multiple times — don’t twist your wrist or your ankle. You will cry, and then your parents will cry, and crying people aren’t really that coherent or good at making decisions.
9. Allow your mother to give you provisions as you tame the wild beast that is your bike. Orange slices, animal crackers, and Gatorade are a soldier’s food, they are the supplements of an Olympians.
10. Now that you are comfortable in your soggy sweatpants, have refilled your internal energy by eating food, and learned to break your fall — you have successfully completed the trials every bike rider has gone through. You have earned the ultimate ending of riding off into the sunset on your mighty steed and are now not the only kid in your class who can’t ride a bike. Hopefully.

PHOTO: “Hollywood Beach, South Florida” by tomato66, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I prefer prose to poems, but I like to do poems when I have a very simple idea that needs to be made, such as for this anthology. Working around or with a prompt is a big part of getting inspiration.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie Casio was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She is currently a junior at Miami Arts Charter school in the Creative Writing program.