Old retro bike.
Tired Memories
by Shivapriya Ganapathy

between
the left and right handlebars
my childhood sat plop with

not-so-tight a grasp
on a brakeless bike-

(the one bought at a local garage for some cousin, and
generously passed down)

a skeptic green leaning over
our sturdy brick wall

for a week
the pedals whizzed up
and down
chasing the wind…

a bump here, and a dent
there, as i

wheeled my way to
bruised elbows and a
bleeding knee, which

ammi hushed wrapping me in
longer skirts and a tirade for
rest of the week admonishing

as though the bike had brought out
some devil in me

i would laugh off in a
swish of green cloud
barely touching the ground, even as

my snaky hair with its twisted heads
waved at the mountain sky

swiveling my bike
in those ribboned lanes my way
downhill,

ghost winds howled into the
open mouth and wide-eyes of a
now fossilized
girl

today, i turn the dusty green cycle
over in my mind, and

find my tired memory
lying flat —
a pale scar on my skin, the

only keepsake from
bygone rides

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The moment I learned the theme for this series, I was instantly drawn to it because cycling is one of the few outdoor activities I absolutely enjoy to this day. Funnily, when I sat to pen it, I realized how subjective and patchy memory could be, with incidents from my childhood and that of the long-lost green cycle bobbing up and down in my mind at their own pace (in a non-linear fashion). So this poem is one of nostalgia for the wind on my face, curvy roads downhill, and a carefree time.

ganapathy1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shivapriya Ganapathy lives in Chennai, India. She graduated with a Masters degree in English Literature, and is now a research scholar working on lesbian feminism and language. She mostly writes in free verse but also dabbles with haiku, tanka, and other Japanese short forms of poetry. Her poems have appeared in Whispers, Verse Wrights, Word Couch, Wordweavers, Spilt Ink Poetry, Sonic Boom, The Squire: 1,000 Paper Cranes Anthology, and The Great Gatsby Anthology by Silver Birch Press. She also maintains a personal blog and finds writing with a mug of coffee beside her therapeutic.