Most places, the minutes stream by unnoticed. Not
here. At the base of the hill, I shift down to a lower
gear, thankful the bike is light and so am I. Out
of the saddle, hot sun on my neck, I stand on the pedals
and haul myself up by driving them down. Here 
you focus on the moment, not how far, how steep.
Halfway up this sloping span of road, I feel a sudden
jolt of jitters when the front wheel slips slightly 
sideways on a narrow strip of softened tar. Then the road 
curves right and rises relentlessly, and though it's not
the Galibier, it's enough to leave this would-be grimpeur
panting. I wind the steady tick-tick-tick of legs thrusting
down hard on pedals, inching toward the granite
slab that marks the peak. Here, every second 
breathes along with me.

Copyright 2007 by Brian Dean Powers


The Body’s Heated Speech

The rear wheel
	is garrulous, grinding
		against the stainless steel roller:

the bike’s inside for the winter,
	back tire suspended
		in a stationary trainer.

As the spinning
	spokes begin to blur,
		the taciturn rider

happily disappears
	into the rhythm
		of legs and breath and pulse.

His padded black shorts
	keep time with the steady
		pistoning of quads and calves,

his jersey darkens
	with the skin’s
		wet text, the body’s

heated speech so persuasive
	he returns again and again.
		It’s the thrill of being the engine

that drives the machine,
	it’s the will to last long
		like the grinding

steel-gray winter seems.
	Rising from the saddle
		to stand and hammer the pedals

full force, the rider dreams
	an approach to Sestrière’s 
		summit, dreams

a morning
	for the first crocus to crescent
		the Spring-soaked soil.

Copyright 2005 by Brian Dean Powers