Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Gravel Is A Nightmare

Blacktop rubs me raw,
leaving a red badge
like a cluster of stars,
a swirl of scabs
waiting and pleading to be picked.

Carpet's worse
in that it's designed to comfort us.
In the morning, we do everything we can
to keep our feet on its warm pile,
the tile of the bathroom damning us.
It fools us in this way,
tricking us into trusting it
until we dive behind the couch to catch an orange birthday balloon
or roll with a girlfriend's dog
and are left with a burn
named specifically after this two-timer.

With wood, there's always a chance for infection,
or so we're told by our mothers
(if they haven't been replaced by terriers)
as they fetch the tweezers
that are never in the right drawer.

But gravel is a nightmare.
Gravel feels like a curse.
it's name sounds like shrapnel,
which would be just as fitting.
Whose idea was it to cover all the best hills
with their dips and curves
and no traffic
in gravel?
These are not the questions we ask, though,
when the stones dig into our skin.
Too big to be classified as pebbles,
though we'd beg for pebbles,
smoothed by wind or water or
what? We don't know.
The only questions we can ask
before we even pick up our bikes,
knowing we might not ride them again for a week,
either out of pain or spite,
is "where is my mom?"
or "where is my dog?"

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