"Ghost Bikes"

July 1, 2019

 

 

--For Amanda Phillips

 

In case you missed the story of the barista struck by a truck

in Inman Square in Cambridge, a ghost bike, painted white, occupies a corner,

roses and lilies sprouting from the frame. White bikes lean against metal poles,

from Detroit to Boston, Amsterdam to Seattle. Some are twisted and broken;

 

others look like new. They carry the memories of riders blindsided,

doored, cut-off by cars, buses and trucks--seats empty where

a person once was, handlebars hands-free, brakes untouched.

Signs say: Cyclist Struck Here, as if we didn’t know.

 

As if we didn’t know what happens when a 20-ton truck meets a 20-pound bike

with a 27-year-old woman careening around an open car door

to find the truck closing in on her like a ship colliding with a dock,

 

shattering any dreams she had for med school, marriage, kids,

a condo in Cambridge. Unlike your everyday spirits,

these ghosts are not invisible. We can see them

with our own eyes—stark and skeletal, bleached as bones by the sun.

 

Ed Meek writes poetry, fiction, articles and book reviews. Spy Pond, a collection of poems, came out in 2015. Luck, a collection of short stories, came out in 2017. Follow him on Twitter @emeek. Visit his website: edmeek.net.

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