By Susan Chiavelli
At the weary turn a young couple flies down our mountain
on a bicycle-built-for-two—all speed and grace and glory.
They lean into the hairpin in perfect synchrony
her golden hair a flag flying for the nation of youth,
helmets not required in a place they’ll live forever.
Damn their youth and beauty!
They make it look so easy—falling in love, while not falling
Remember falling? We rode tandem—once.
Newlywed, and the lake path unfurled like a satin ribbon.
the bike wobbled
always on the edge of falling, and oh my heart leaping everywhere!
If strangers had been watching we were unaware. Nothing pretty
about our off-kilter rhythm, but it carried us through forty years
into this bewildering country of wheelchairs and loss, encroaching
gravestones everywhere, our rhythm now
honed and steady
steady and honed
you letting go.
Susan Chiavelli is the recipient of the Chattahoochee Review’s Lamar York Nonfiction Prize for “Death, Another Country,” also named a notable essay by Best American Essays. Her prose and poetry have appeared in Paradise, Elsewhere, The Los Angeles Review, Miramar, San Pedro River Review, The Packinghouse Review, and elsewhere. Also by this poet: "Fallen Fruit"