On a Mission
The spring following our older brother’s death, we didn’t say
two words about it. But one day unexpectedly you called
and said you bought a bike. I hadn’t ridden in five years, you
in over 40. So it began that you would call and we would
ride, your number, my Bat Signal. Spring passed and you
became much stronger than I was. I’d follow the beacon of
your neon as you gained ground on the downhills, madly
pedaling out of sight like a 10-year old boy on a mission.
I’d catch up and find you waiting silently near a flock of
goslings or a turtle sunning on a limb. You showed me
the duck foot maple leaves and striped young trunks, as I
called out wildflowers. Every weekend we rolled out.
You got a rearview mirror so you wouldn’t lose me.
From Glens Falls to Lake George was 20 miles round trip.
On the feeder canal to Fort Edward, we flushed wild turkeys
from the underbrush and once a rare green heron, fragile
as a promise. In 95 degrees we pressed through rain and
thunder at the battlefield. I carried extra water for you,
and we ate things we never ate, sweet potato fries and soft
ice cream. Rode it all off. We rode until we couldn’t walk
the stairs and slept and woke and rode again. Then one late
October day following a week of rain it came. The clocks
changed, as did the light. It got dark far too early. You
called and said, “Too cold.” And just like that it ended. I
put on three layers, one for each of us, and headed out alone.
Visual artist/poet Mary Kathryn Jablonski has been a contributor at Numero Cinq magazine and is author of the poetry chapbook To the Husband I Have Not Yet Met. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals including Salmagundi, Beloit Poetry Journal, Slipstream, and Blueline, among others.