On a bicycle—and they rarely lie—down Martin Drove End

it seemed as if the Wiltshire Hills winked

as I rode past. Cradled w/in grassland waves

the lambs bleated me into Blake’s epigraph:

“Dost thou know who made thee …?” etc.

As I rode I knew that I’d record how one time

the sun was abruptly veiled and all went dark

like when I passed my hand over my father’s 

eyes that last time. Then, just like that, a miracle:

a cloud passed on and my father was awake again

riding alongside. He said: “Do this with me ”

and then, he lifted his hand off the handle bars. 

He quickly rode past me. I’d never catch up. 

Last I saw of him was on the crest of the next hill. 

He glanced over his shoulder to me and disappeared 

downhill at break-all speed (Which was OK, being that he 

was dead), with his hands  up in the air, balancing 

on a human hair’s width of track, of eye-blink.

Meanwhile the slope too steep to pedal,

(for me)

I walked my bicycle, pulse and breath one,

nigh on passed out. This musta’ been a mirage

or maybe I had dreamt it as I blinked, as I exhaled

when sunlight had sluiced the waving Cow Parsley 

that had flowered on the west bank of hedgerows

on Martin Drove End: cupped country lane which is

canopied by beech trees, strong shouldered and arched 

over my labored way. Time plays tricks there. 

Here you are made atemporal. Rendered unborn.

Maybe a radiator leak in a five-ton Yank truck or a 

hosed wheelwright who had skimped on a yew axle 

that broke, or hippy lovers who fell off the Yamaha. 

All whom traveled this lane were sure of their way. 

“All travel has the element of faith in it!”

I heard my father yell in perfect Cuban glee

coasting down the other side of that Wiltshire hill 

which I had pistoned-pedalled all morning to raise.

Come to think about it, it may not have been he. 

My Dad.

What if it were only me, myself, only much older— 

a tease, a phantom recorded on a loop?

Once used, a road is informed by its traveler,

but especially in Wiltshire’s at the edge of Empire.

–Chaz Mena, The Little Coach House, Tidpit, Wiltshire, UK, 2019