Original version published in Marilyn: A Magazine of New Poetry, vol. II, Spring 1976
I’ve mounted my bicycle and pedaled into the street
when I realize I’m the emperor without clothes.
Panicked, I begin to pee on my leg.
But after all, it’s raining. I’m dreaming.
Riding along this way is bliss.
Ahead, I see where the bridge has washed out.
A wave curls up and looms above me.
After lightning before thunder claps.
Absurdly, I think I can still get across.
I pedal full-speed, embracing sheer air
like the pilot of an early flying machine.
The water’s warm soup.
How stupid of me.
I fish up the bike by its handlebars
and pull for shore using a modified side kick.
Climbing out, I’m grinning like a capsized drunk.