To Ride a Bike
by Martina R. Gallegos

I never saw one as a child.
The first tricycle I saw was at fourteen;
I was already in the USA, waiting for siblings.
When they arrived, they were a whole bunch;
they reminded me of The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
We’d go through neighbors’ dumpsters weekly,
looking for treasures, bikes, really.
Since we found no bikes and billy goats
needed something to busy themselves with,
we opted for the neighbor’s persimmon tree;
I’d never seen or eaten the fruit before.
My brothers climbed for persimmons daily.
That enthusiasm lasted only until the owner’s
patience, and persimmons, ran out.
We were invited to a friend’s home;
the family had bicycles, tricycles, and dirt bikes galore!
My brothers pushed me around on the tricycle first;
other times they simply pushed me around.
After they learned to ride the bicycle,
it was my time for torture; they enjoyed it,
and I learned to ride bike.
Who would’ve thought that one day I’d go to
work and college on a very tall, ten-speed man’s bike.
Now I look back and am amazed at the courage I
displayed riding that bike around town.
I forgot to ride after a stroke many years later.
My daughter encouraged me to ride bike again.
I never would’ve learned to ride a bike
hadn’t it been for those loyal Billy Goats Gruff.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The photo is of bike I learned to ride after my stroke. I’d bought it about a month before a work injury, a ruptured Achilles tendon.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’d written a narrative about my bike riding experience, but I’d forgotten many details, so I basically took an excerpt from that to write my poetry piece.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Martina R. Gallegos came from Mexico and attended Pasadena High school, Oxnard College, and California State University, Northridge. She got a Master’s from Grand Canyon University after a massive stroke. She published Grab the Bull by the Horns (Outskirts Press, 2016). Her poems have appeared in Hometown Pasadena, Allpoetry, Altadena Poetry Review: Anthology 2015, and Spectrum 4. She lives in Oxnard, California.