Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Audrey on Her Bike in June

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At the end of the street she loosens up
and lifts a hand from the handlebars.

Her wheels describe an arc
slow as a wing-heavy monarch—no, more like
waitresses at the old drive-in
on roller skates, their bodies attuned
to the loveliness of a half circle ending
in a perfect stop.
They wore orange polyester uniforms like
ball gowns, and by suspending
their attention
turned drowsiness beautiful.

You don’t have to hold tight! I shout
(but what does she need me for?)
You can be loose and strong at the same time!

Do I mean that?
I want to mean that.

I want you to guide your life like this
one hand on the handlebars, the other
I want you to enjoy
a lazy kind of speed, the power of muscle
when it doesn’t need to flex.

I guess you know me by now, always
interrupting myself but another thing
I meant to say is you’ll grow
just by pedaling away
from where you came—me
in the driveway.

So here's a coin, daughter
stamped each side with my love—
caution and prowess,
languor and adrenaline.
Take it into the world and spend it.

Spend everything.

Kris Willcox lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, with her spouse, Scott, and two excellent children, Audrey and Calvin. Her work has appeared in UU World, Mutha Magazine, Cimarron Review, and Beloit Fiction Journal, among others. You can read her mostly true adventures on her website.

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