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Patricia Clark: My Father on a Bicycle

If you ever saw my father in shorts,
you wouldn't forget his stick-thin legs,
the knees knobby as windfall dwarf apples.
  
And the only time I saw him ride a bike,
Oakes Street, I think, he pedaled "no hands"
down the street to show me the stance.
 
He wasn't a runner either, thought he'd move
at a quick trot when trouble came to our door--
usually when the twins caught somebody's wrath.
  
Once they set an oat-grass field on fire, and trucks
came, red and furious down the boulevard.
Another time, after a morning of water-fat balloons
  
lobbed at cars, the cops shadowed our porch.
Our father was an ambler, a stroller, a tall stander.
I can see him, heron-alert, bare-headed,
  
the waters of the Satsop or Nooksack, the cold
Chehalis, up past his knees, casting a line
among boulders, deadwood, and drop-offs.
Deep, moving water his abiding friend.


Copyright 2022. First published in The Atlantic. Republished in My Father on a Bicycle (Michigan State, 2005).

Patricia Clark is the author of six books of poetry: Self-Portrait with a Million Dollars; The Canopy; Sunday Rising; She Walks Into the Sea; My Father on a Bicycle; and North of Wondering.

2 comments on “Patricia Clark: My Father on a Bicycle

  1. Sally and John Bliumis-Dunn
    August 25, 2022

    I really enjoyed this poem, Patricia!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kim4true
    August 24, 2022

    Lovely, Evocative, Patricia.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on August 24, 2022 by in Humor and Satire, Poetry and tagged , , .

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