a ride I took

He hands me a helmet. It’s red, it sparkles. “My head is big,” I say. He hands me another helmet. “This one fits even me,” he says. “It should fit your big head”. This one is black.

I try to put it on. It doesn’t go on smoothly. He has to help me.
He hands me gloves. They are too big. They make me feel delicate.

He fastens my helmet.
I feel like a child. I like feeling like a child,
for a moment.

He gets on. He tells me to get on. To not put my feet on the exhaust.
“It will melt your shoes,” he says.
I try my best to not melt my shoes.

I get on. I am nervous.
He likes that I am nervous.
I can tell.

It’s all
heart throbs
and sweat,
and nerves
near-death flashes
primordial panic
until we pass the hondas,
the food trucks,
the city heat.

The people in our way
become old news,
past tense,
and I feel isolated and

Blissfully unreachable.

I watch the ocean
I see pelicans
they fly low
glassy wave tops.

I see a ferris wheel
I see men and women
driving Priuses
having conversations,
texting in heavy traffic.

“Let’s keep going,” he says.

He asks me: “are you up for it?”

I nod. I grin. I forget how to speak.

–today is crushing my soul
in comparison–


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