She Taught Me to Ride
The new bike waits in the oil-stained driveway.
I jump off the porch & onto the red vinyl
crosshatch seat. I feel like a motocross racer
with palms gripped over red rubber handles.
Let me teach you how to ride it, Mom says.
No, I say.
I’m afraid, not only of the tall bike, but her shrill
demanding voice when she tries to teach.
I just want to get on my blue Big Wheel
& ride like Danny Torrance through the halls
of the Overlook hotel.
She takes the bike to the street,
holds it unsteady as I get back on.
She has one hand on the handlebar,
one on the back of the seat.
I don’t want to.
After minutes of back & forth, she gives up.
I start to get off the bike when someone clutches the seat.
I got you, she says.
Elvira, my best friend’s mother—
young Filipina next door who always steals
my attention with her quiet eyes
& that feather-soft voice.
Keeping a grip on the seat, she jogs behind
as I pedal up the street—
blue jays chatter in the ash trees
that line Albany Avenue, mid-morning July breeze
brushes my face—
then she lets go.
"I often write about my childhood in Modesto, California in the early '80s. This poem is the second one about my best friend Mark and his mother. I have great memories with Mark. When he moved away to the Philippines, I never stopped thinking about him."
Josslyn Turner is a queer trans poet, prose writer, and abstract artist. She's currently a student working toward a BA in English and an MFA in Poetry. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in isacoustic*, Journal Nine, Oyster River Pages, The Lily Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Waterford, California where she co-parents two awesome boys.