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, though 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 oatgrass 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, bareheaded,

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.
 

Presented by

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Entertainment

Just In