A Poem From My Bicycle

This memoir-writing process requires a lot of reading old journal entries. I carried a college-ruled composition book with me on my bike tour across the country, and I wrote every day. Well, I tried to: Sometimes I was having too much fun, and other times I was too damn tired.

I just found this gem in the archives yesterday. It’s poem that I wrote from the perspective of my trusty two-wheeled steed. I imagined her as a living, breathing friend of mine, because otherwise that 5,000 mile solo journey would’ve killed me from loneliness. Not because I didn’t meet plenty of awesome people and make dozens of new friends, but because there was no continuity. The only face I kept seeing was my own, in bathroom mirrors from Oregon to Florida. And there were plenty of moments when I couldn’t recognize myself: Did I just drink a beer at my first-ever house party? Did I just say “yes,” when someone asked me if I wanted to ride around on a horse in Eastern Oregon and herd cows? Did I just cuddle with a man who wasn’t my boyfriend?

There were so many “firsts” on that bike tour, and Miya, my bicycle, witnessed them all. So here is a poem that she wrote, trying to understand the strange human who kept hopping on her back and pedaling, “all by herself,” to Florida:

From the archives: October 28, 2011

Miya Writes A Poem

We’re on an adventure, she tells me, our noses to the wind.

We move together, something fits and clicks,

One beast.

Up hills, down mountains, through river valleys, across deserts,

Beneath the canopies of older trees.

She gets cold, sick, lonely, dehydrated.

She needs water every hour.

She misses him, because he knew things about her.

I miss his hands, the way they could calm hers, the way they fixed things.

I carry her, and I carry the bags.

I carry the tent that I can’t fit inside of.

She needs more things than me, and I carry it all.

Sometimes she drops me at the side of the road, and runs into the woods.

It only happens on beautiful days, when the air is clear and the forest is thick with birdsong.

She’ll run deep into the trees, until I can barely see her, and then she just stands there,

Arms up towards the sky, crying.

I wonder why we have to carry so much water in bottles

When she can make it come out her eyes.