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
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,
as he took on corners with speed
drifting left and right
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.