by Sean Patrick Leary
The car stops climbing, I mount up and pedal higher.
No air, screeching lungs and protesting muscles,
agony at eleven thousand nine hundred and sixty.
I stretch on the apex – teetering on the Great Divide,
I sit in the scree, It will be better from here.
My humble eyes rest on the sparse trees
that cannot reach, above life.
The Sawatch Range, Pikes Peak, San Juans, Uncompaghre Range
drift around me in the mystic white, floating on clouds
that swim through their valleys.
My muscles are warm and I feel strong, for the
A three thousand eight hundred foot drop.
I point to the descent, choose to cross The Divide,
committing to lines and bouncing on scree,
over the bars at a switchback.
I recklessly aim for the pines and crouch low, disappear into the singletrack,
holding on, white knuckles jumping, swooping, swaying,
sliding around off-camber turns, and getting sucked through the burms.
Brake fingers burn as the scenery morphs,
in ever shifting terrain, moments melt to the next.
lying on a bed of evergreen paralleling a river, it sparkles, rambles,
and I contemplate the fish lurking in each swimming hole, the grass fields,
through heavily treed tunnel vision.
The river winds away and I am sent into the thick aspens
where the sun shines an iridescent yellow-green through the canopy
and I serpentine through the chalky white stalks.
I want more and reset my course, choosing variations,
Rainbow Trail, Silver Creek, more, till there’s no more juice and I choose an exit
and lay by the deserted road, bloody, exhausted, relying on good will, humanity, myself,
and I am satisfied.