Revolutions

by Elizabeth Oxley

Jeans snarl in spokes, and I tumble

from my bicycle at yard’s edge. Summer

 

frogs gather, gullets pulsing a baritone hum,

start and stall of tiny engines. I pick gravel

 

from my knee. It is six years since the fall

of Saigon. At night, my parents fight

 

in their bedroom. When we leave my father,

it’s for a town with winding creeks, canted

 

cemetery hill where I lift my feet and coast,

tires running tight orbits. At school, we practice

 

sitting in hallways with our heads covered.

The wall comes down in Berlin. Students

 

pedal to Tiananmen Square, bodies sprawled

across our television. Saturdays, I ride

 

to play pinball at the gas station, hair tied back,

wind stroking my forehead. My legs burn

 

on the climb. I tug on handlebars to keep my balance.

It was my father who first held me steady

 

until I trusted the frame to carry me. He let go

with his hands, smiled and raised arms, trembling.

© 2020 by Elizabeth Oxley and ElizabethOxley.com