Women of the Wheel
Tuck my skirt tight against my thighs,
and I ride. Wind in my hair,
tears in my eyes, no compromise,
My grandmothers’ aunties fought for
bloomers and split-skirts, with
bone-bruises and blame; petticoats
and blood built my bike.
On the Burke-Gilman, the InterUrban,
I fly. I spin, I pedal, I sweat,
a jingle jangle belled on your left,
At the farmers market, my bike will get me a token,
a couple of bucks for saving some gas,
but great gran got the vote
from ladies who passed.
E-ticket to ride, anywhere my legs
and mind can take me. Unsupervised,
Life thrills my wheels,
breaks rusty chains of
chaperones and supervised travels.
Dames who dared,
wind in hair, and tears in eyes.
Na/GloPoWriMo Day Sixteen asks us “to write a poem that uses the form of a list to defamiliarize the mundane.”
I didn’t do that, but I was inspired by taking something ubiquitous and delving deeper: bicycles and femme-empowerment. I’m also inspired and informed by Tessa Hulls, artist and cyclist extraordinaire. She’s my bike shero, and one of the things she does is speak about bicycles as tools for social liberation. She’s bad-ass, and she bikes.
Also for your perusal: a quick primer on the history of women and bicycles.