The Bike Path

I believe it’s common to unexpectedly think you see a person you have lost. Today I’m posting a poem a wrote about thinking I saw Jim when I was riding on the bike path. Bicycles were always a part of our family. Jim rode to Sandia Prep when he taught there, then he opened a bicycle and moped shop, and now our son Charlie makes custom built bikes as O’Leary Built Bicycles. The picture I’m posting here is of one of the first bicycles Charlie made that he gave to Jim.

The Bike Path

Today your memory surprises me, appearing on the bicycle path
past the duck pond, on the way to the South Valley, a perfect double.
You’re in your prime like they told us we would be in heaven.
It’s true for you. You’re at your best.

It’s the muscles in your legs that get me.
I was always attracted to your body.
From the time you were a boy.
Smooth back curving in, strong legs,
your own walk.

I don’t remember the first time I saw you.
I don’t remember a time I didn’t know you.
One day you were in my life.
You appeared, like today on the bike path.

How I romanticize you, but why not.
Why remember the pain, the sickness,
feelings of failure, of loss, of despair,
when you lost weight, when your body
seemed to fail you, when chemo made you sick.

Of course I remember that. But I also remember
the opposite, and it was just as true, just as real.
Even now, when I think I’m alone
I come upon you.