Motorcycle for Sale

So to tell you this

and so to sell you this

is a pact that you will keep your color.

Leaves without orange, red, or yellow

aren’t seen in the fall;

they blend into the undercarriage of earth

with no imprint on the brain

or the body that remembers.

Just don’t be ordinary.

You should know,

that it started with this motorcycle:

the grease left in the pan on the stove,

the puddled water around the overgrown garden

the smell of earthworms and rough shoots of grass

between the tomatoes.

Burgundy on chrome

he pointed west and slow through the chill,

fast through the hot

tires on blacktops the color of mountains

and towards the mountains

as if the needle were stuck in one direction.

There, he stopped almost


leaning into horsehair strings of an old violin

fingers fumbling with a sound that didn’t matter

as much as the song itself,

across the depth of prairie from a knoll

now full with quadruplet houses

foursomes and fivesomes and sixsomes that mock each other

with their different colored shutters.

I know all of this

because he told us—

the children and me.

About the stars and the squeal of rabbits

in the bluestem at his knees,

about the eagle who called from somewhere—

anywhere other than a tree,

not a tree in sight.

About the empty bank account

since filled and drained ten times over by the rest of us

with the ebb and flow of need,

and forgive-me-father greed.

About the quiet coyotes who saved their calls for sunrise,

yelling with his desire

farther and faster west into altitudes

where breathing steadies and grows deep with


There is nothing humdrum

about the shoes left in the driveway

by the dog who scatters them about like eggs

laid by chickens remiss and high-stepping

all over the yard;

their pecking at the shoes and the grass,

their laughter making him laugh.

Not when they are his shoes,

and it is his dog.

Not when it is his laughter.

There is nothing dull

about the motorcycle’s lean into a stretch of road

of course

when he is driving,

and I am the rider who fills the other seat

getting to touch him

and to see his face in the faces of our children,

and in the clouds.

Getting to put my arms loose about his waist at first,

then tighter

as he took on corners with speed

drifting left and right

tighter still,

as the years and memories multiplied.

So to buy this motorcycle


if you buy this motorcycle

it is to know

that this seat is where it started,

and there is no ordinary

in the stops along the way

and all the places

that he will stay.


  1. Just beautiful, Karen! Thank you for sharing a glimpse of who he was, and forever will be. Hugs!

  2. This is beautiful. My heart is both full and aching. I am sending you a warm blanket of love.

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