Bicycle Dreams

or How Do I Plan For Your Arrival With Only One Bicycle?

 

After Djomas’s “Bicycle Dreams”

 

The angels float overhead— one with curls, like me.  Their happiness is an omen. As omens go, this one must be interpreted. Until now, I thought romantic love was unfinished sentences and broken teacups, the ocean swallowing a girl on the jetty, her blue hat floating away. Tonight I think love is a memory of grace on the tongue. The moment before the embrace, the second after. In the painting, there’s something in the bold brush stroke of the artist and tilt of the angels’ mouths that makes me think of you and so, I write this letter, a love letter.  To you.  A man I have not met.  I want to tell you about bicycles.  I am ten years old.  My father and I ride together every Sunday morning, two miles, four, maybe five, heading west against a pale sky, bands of clouds pigmenting the dreams of all the people asleep or warming milk or opening curtains and brewing coffee.  No one else is out this early hour when the grass is still wet with evening dew and jasmine wafts across the city on long drawls.  My father and I ride silently, forward, freedom in the artist’s gestures, peace in her colors.  How will I paint you into my life? I see only one bicycle, a white basket, a green bell and oh how I love that green bell.  I close my eyes and imagine waking you in the night, your warm body turning toward cool pillows. I think of holding your hand at the farmer’s market where we will buy yellow tomatoes and blue basil.  I inhale the breath of your upper lip.  Catch you on the bottom lip. Your smile turns a sable paintbrush, pigment from the painting, linseed oil, chrome and rubber, a lilt of light— and here we are, a second bicycle created in this moment which is really all moments you have been with me.  In the clouds. The basil. The scent of June’s sweetest peas.  The kiss I have  imagined. I believe you understand.  As light falls in pinnate leaf patterns across the west-facing wall, I see you riding towards me.

 
 
 

Alicia Elkort edited and contributed to the chapbook Creekside, published under the Berkeley Poetry Review where she also served as an editor. Her poetry has been published in Elsewhere Lit, Menacing Hedge, Red Paint Hill Press, Rogue Agent, Stirring: A Literary Collection and Tinderbox Poetry Journal and many others and is forthcoming in AGNI and Black Lawrence Press. Alicia was named finalist in the Two Sylvias Press Wilder Series Book Prize in 2015 and her poem 'Dirt' was nominated for the 2016 Orisons Anthology. She lives in California and will go to great lengths for an honest cup of black tea and a cool breeze.