The plows have done their work and then some
as I coast the washboard lane to a bike shop
where the sign on the main road says I can also
purchase peach preserves and tractor parts.
A bell on the door brings a black retriever
and the sound of slackening metal pawls
that says a wheel has just been left to friction
and its own kind of true. As the owner goes
to the rear storeroom to dig out the tire
I need – “we don’t get many Italian bikes
in here” – the room regains its equilibrium.
Behind the counter around a repair stand
sit a space heater and a knot of men
on folding chairs. Their Pennfield caps predict
laments about the price of milk or scolding spouses,
but it seems they are debating when
to stage a bike race for the younger kids
up Pump House Road to an apple orchard.
A kind of liturgical calendar is unfolding
with a bicycle feast made moveable by
an annual Florida vacation when two border collies
with the run of the hill will be at a kennel, which
means in turn that the date for a mud sale
is on hold, and maybe an April wedding.
A few deft twists secure my new tire to its rim,
and I push my bike back down the aisle and into
the cold with a slice of warm air against my chest
and a fresh sense of the merits of invisible fences.
Ed Granger lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where he was raised. He has worked in the non-profit healthcare field for the past two decades, following a stint as a professional journalist. He now writes as a serious avocation while also serving as half-time dad to a nine-year-old daughter. He has had poems published in Little Patuxent Review, River Poets Journal, and The Heron’s Nest.