Distracted by an Ergonomic Bicycle

Original Text: 

James Arthur. Charms Against Lightning. Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press. 2012

1On a rainy morning in the worst year
2of my life, as icy eyelets shelled the street,
3I shared a tremor with a Doberman
4leashed to a post. We two were all the world
5until a bicyclist shot by, riding
6like a backward birth, feetfirst,
7in level, gentle ease, with the season's hard breath
8between his teeth. The rain was almost ice, the sky
9mild and pale. I saw a milk carton bobbing by
10on a stream of melting sleet.
11           A bicyclist. A bicyclist. He rode away—
12to his home, I guess. I went home,
13where I undressed, left my jacket
14where it fell, went straight to bed, and slept
15for two days straight. But those clicking wheels
16kept clicking in my head, and though
17I can't say why, I felt not only not myself,
18but that I'd never been ... that I
19was that man I hardly saw, hurling myself
20into the blast, and that everything
21I passed—dog, rain, cold, the other guy—
22I left in my wake, like afterbirth.
RPO poem Editors: 
Jim Johnstone
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

Poem used with permission of the author.