There once was a fence—a white rod-iron fence—
to keep big pines in from wandering the neighborhood,
or perhaps it was to keep cars out from trespassing the corner yard.
A car left a gaping hole in the yard’s mouth;
it stayed that way for months. Years?
Fix it? Okay.
Last week, it was laid as flat as a downed fence,
waiting . . . waiting.
This week, it was gone . . . all but one post,
one lonely post,
one malevolent post
ready to pounce.
A pounce post!
I rounded the corner on my bike,
dog on leash in tow.
Stupid to not have gone out in the street,
Trash cans were holding a conversation with the lone post,
but keeping their distance,
plotting how to arrest those who ride on sidewalks
rather than on busy streets—maybe.
Or maybe talking about the weather.
“Incredible wind today, don’t ya think!”
In an instant,
in a miserable moment,
I rode between—stupid!
Stupid to not stop and walk—
stupid, stupid to navigate too narrow a space.
Bike went left, and
so . . . dog went right, and
I went down
to the gutter with a thunk—
a slow, silent flying,
. . . a silent thunk,
a painful thunk—I think.
Stunned, shocked, still holding the leash,
a kind stranger helped me up,
walked my bike as I walked my dog.
Why was I walking?
Stupid to be painfully hunching my way
down the block,
the last ouching block.
Five hours in urgent care—I was urgent, they were not—
breathing as little as necessary,
avoiding pressing pain,
avoiding others’ virulent coughs,
avoiding the constant looping of a kid cartoon.
Cracked and bruised, painful shaking, then
home again, home again,
gasping with every bump
and to bed.
Vicodin is my friend.
There once was a fence, a white rod-iron fence,
a stupid fence!