Mountain bike jump
It’s never too late
by Prerna Bakshi

At the age of 30,
after having witnessed the men in my society
claiming sole rights on wheels by denying women
from their right to freedom and self-reliance,
I decided to take the handlebar
into my own hands.
I decided to learn to ride a bicycle, on my own.

Excited yet overwhelmed;
nervous yet confident;
I sat on my bicycle
riding, under the stars late at night,
feeling the wind blowing into my face,
peddling away from patriarchy, savoring
every single ounce of that freedom,
I pedaled and pedaled
but not for too long
(all good things don’t last for too long as they say).

All of a sudden, I fell off my bicycle.
Found myself in tremendous pain.
At a nearby hospital at 2 am
in the emergency ward
bleeding, with a left fractured arm and
a broken bone, that won’t be healed
for a good few months, wounds
all over my body, especially this big one
that stood out, of red-purplish color on the calf of my right leg;
like a scar of my independence
staring right back at me
and to it, I just had this to say:
     
          What took you so long?

SOURCE: A version of this poem first appeared in Red Fez.

PHOTO: “Bike danger” by UBE, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem once my arm was healed. It took me a few months to recover but soon after my recovery, this poem was born.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A Pushcart Prize nominee, Prerna Bakshi is a writer, poet, and activist of Indian origin, currently based in Macao. She is the author of the recently released full-length poetry collection, Burnt Rotis, With Love, long-listed for the 2015 Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in the UK. Her work has been published widely, most recently in The Ofi Press MagazineRed Wedge Magazine, Off the Coast, TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism, and Peril magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture, as well as anthologized in several collections. Find out more at prernabakshi.strikingly.com.