(Sometimes you could be)by Yusef Komunyakaa
Sometimes you could be
That man on a red bicycle,
With me on the handlebars,
Just rolling along a country road
On the edge of July, honeysuckle
Lit with mosquito hawks.
We rode from under the shady
Overhang, back into sunlight.
The day bounced off car hoods
As the heat & stinking exhaust
Brushed against us like a dragon's
Roar, nudging the bike with a tremor,
But you steered us through the flowering
Dogwood like a thread of blood.
This is one stanza of a longer poem about his father, and their complicated relationship. The whole thing is here and well worth reading. The poem makes me realize that for nearly all of us, learning to ride and our earliest bicycle experiences are also crucial Father experiences and among the lessons we learn in what a father is.