• By Caleb Ingle (he/him)
  • Art “Storm” by Andra Veness (she/her)

I am set free as
my cranks and feet and pedals spin westward.
My head nods to a beat
and my thoughts poke and prod at its walls.

I keep them trapped,
confined to my mind as I ride
toward the setting sun.
In this moment,

I am free,
free as I’ll ever be
from the torment that is 9-5
from the torment that is my own kind

ripping and tearing and gnawing
at flesh,
competing and winning and always
one step ahead of me.

That’s the fear of change
speaking through me,
ripping and tearing and gnawing
at any hope left.

I am content as my tires float
over roots, ruts, red foot bridges,
washboard, and primo.
A groove of ecstasy pumps through me

as I take in the sounds
and sights and smells of the slough:
crashing waves, sulfur and salt,
jasmine and pine.

I grunt up the hill toward the bluffs
level with the clouds
bundled and blooming
with the mustard-sun flowers.

I am content and I am ready
for my life outside of this place
as I think back on the time spent in it.
My tires skid to a stop

and I watch Her last glows
caress the waves and dip below them.
A flash of green on the surface of the sea.
Sundown. I head back East.