Two on a Rickety Bicycle


• August 1, 2015

This summer several friends and I are liberating the creative writer within by making and sending short stories and poems back and forth. More significantly, we are discovering the rich literary culture Rochester has to offer. Writers and Books, Rochester Poets, the Rochester Literary Festival, poetry readings, slams and open mic nights, writers discussion meetups, talks, lectures, author visits. And in the Fall a flurry of activity at the local colleges and universities. The list seemingly inexhaustible.

If I may, I’d like to share one poem (by good fortune a different version published in August, below). For a reason. While taking much poetic license, the two on a bicycle characters are loosely based on a real life couple who I imagine as a metaphor for ideal love. For years now, I have seen the same two people riding on one bicycle, she in front, he in back. Fairly often I pass them on well traveled routes, the Canal Path, the Lehigh Valley Trail, the Greenway Trail, etc. The couple literally is everywhere.

My question to you — the legions of fellow cyclists who so enjoy those paths — have you ever encountered the two on a rickety bicycle?

See the published poem in  (August 2015) The Criterion: An International Journal in English.

Two on a Rickety Bicycle

Hey, thanks. Let me show you the house.

The ruse of the forgotten pen.

From when they exchanged numbers that evening at Jeremiahs.

Her children now at home with her sister

Eating Reeses and Nestles Crunch.

Look, seniorita, a Cuban flag bought last August

When Obama established diplomatic ties.

Going to fly it right next to the American flag

On Independence Day.


cuban flagUp against a certain wall,

Back to a certain chair,

Her on my lap,

Leftover Halloween candy,

In a bowl on the table.

*  *  *

Healthy Relationships drawing 1-page-0

The Healthy Relationships Seminar done.

Skylarking home on the Canal Path

Under a purple evening sky

Making purple water.


ricketyTwo Asians on a rickety bicycle.

The same two as before and before.

Her gangly with glasses, in back.

She, perched almost on his lap, in front.

Pleasant, short, more plain than not.


The same couple, for years now, swooning and looping

The Canal Path, the Lehigh Valley Trail, the Genesee Parkway,

Riverside and inland.

He whispering to her in Chinese

Or Talagog. Or Esperanto.

Or is it even words?


The single encounter at the municipal tennis courts

That is not me watching them on their bicycle.

The cheap used yard sale rackets,

The found balls fuzzless and soggy,

Black socks and Walmart tennis shoes.


rick 2

“Hey, I think I’ve seen you guys on your bicycle.”

The returned stare as blank as this page before I started.

“Do you go to school here?”

We grew up in China

My husband grad student in Electric Engineering

Live in Whipple Park.

Back to forehands and backhands

Plinking into the net.


Funny, she and I never have played tennis like that

The way we talked about.

see previously published in The Criterion, “A Period of Mutually Agreed Upon Reflection” (June 2015)