biking across beijing

biker©papa osmubal

biker©papa osmubal

biking across beijing
barbara rendall

I ride at the heart of a gathering wave
Spun from bright metal and April air;
Hundreds, thousands are with me, bearing me on,
Agreement on wheels,
Courage in numbers at ring road crossings
Where old men beside me on tricycles shield me
From certain death with fantastical towers of junk.

Like beautiful, nonchalant skaters
My fellow travelers on Flying Pidgeons, sturdy Forevers
Telegraph every intention with a tweak of the wheel,
Or an eloquent bending to left or to right.
The pressure to keep up to speed is unspoken, but everything.
Falter, and I will be doomed, a straggler
Suddenly faceless, left behind,

But together we fly
Riding a perfect tension spun from two wheels–
Singular longing and group solidarity–
The finely-tuned motion of one billion people
With a fixed destination in mind.


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