Three Yellow Bikes and the Blues

By TJ Rivard

A woman rode a yellow bike down the middle of a country road between cornfields.   Tall, summer corn.  Two riderless bikes flanked her. She held the handle bars—one on her right, one to her left.  She rode the middle bike no-handed, staying balanced, her thighs twitching to keep the front wheel straight.  It took precision.  A “V” of sweat chilled her back.  The tires popped tar. Heat danced over the pavement in her wake.  The corn converged in the distance, parting in front of her like opening hands.  She kept a steady speed, a smooth pedaling.  Deer flies bit her neck.  She squeezed past the pain toward a shaky balance.

At first, all she saw was a shard of sun, a flare at the road’s edge.   Nothing could have prepared her for the sax player. Who would have expected those guttural, dirty tones here at the side of a country road?  She lost control.  One bike strayed toward the opposite cornfield, scandalized by his raunchy style.  The other swooned in the middle of the steamy pavement, the back tire spinning.  Her bike careened into the heart of the blues. He helped her to her feet.  She made love with him.  What else to do with the blues on the edge of a cornfield?  Their bodies rolled through long blades of cool grass, sending up a flurry of golden butterflies.

Afterward, she straightened her clothes and set her bikes in position.  He licked the mouthpiece, fingered the keys.  “Getting started is the hard part,” she said, wobbling up and off.  No point looking back; she listened instead to the wind applauding through the corn, pedaling ever toward hands longing to hold her.


TJ Rivard has been published in The Café IrrealOxford Magazine, the Eureka Literary MagazineRight Hand PointingSmokeLong QuarterlyflashquakeBread and Beauty, and the Kentucky Poetry Review.  He lives in Indianapolis where he works for Indiana University.

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