Catherine Esposito Prescott
Black Creek Trail or Annual Bike Ride During the Pandemic When Our Usual Route Is Closed
New Year’s Day, 2021
Every vulture in Miami
congregates on the outskirts
of this landfill, and we ride
past their murder without speaking,
no, that is of crows, past their wake,
a wake of vultures, a wake which seems perfect
rather than prophetic—cloaked in
full black, full mourning regalia,
keeping vigil for this year—
or wake as in the thoughts
that simmer and spring me
into day before first light
or wake as in the Old English
wacu, the strong feminine,
to wake, to see.
Iguanas sit like sages
along the banks
of the polluted creek
which hugs the bike trail,
grown wiser from the ingestion
of toxins. This is the world
my boys will inherit, my boys,
almost full grown.
The trail takes a voyeur’s
path through neighborhood
backyards with smoking BBQ pits,
loudspeakers singing salsa
music, stacked plastic lawn chairs.
We pass perimeters of horse farms,
palm-tree farms, avocado farms
where egg-sized seeds turn
into towering trees.
We cross under highways,
over four-lane roads.
A homeless man tells my boys
love your mother first.
We bike through an encampment,
bus stops, condominiums,
a bird habitat designed with signs
adjacent to the creek
glittering with plastic bags.
A lone alligator appears and fades.
We have seen too much of each other.
At the end of the trail, we see
low-lying brush, no plant or tree
above eye level, yet thick with green.
The air is sweet, laced with baby’s breath,
scent of the untouched, of beginnings.
My boys check their phones and laugh
when I sigh, mocking me with their gravel-voices,
their five-o-clock shadows, their minds
planning the ride back to our car,
and their years beyond our home, all
within arms reach. What seemed distant
is here. We didn’t expect this view at the end—
not a clearing, not an emptiness,
no revelation to hold onto,
just resounding evidence
of seeds dropped into soil over and over.
We turn our bikes at the park’s boarded-up
welcome center and ride out.
Sunlight falls from the sky, pitches
toward tomorrow. The boys
speed ahead, then wait for me
at the first street crossing
not because they must,
but to make sure I am safe.
I ride in the current of their wake.
Catherine Esposito Prescott is the author of the chapbooks Maria Sings and The Living Ruin. Recent poems appear in EcoTheo Review, Mezzo Cammin, Northwest Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verse Daily, and West Trestle Review. Prescott is Co-founder and Editor in Chief of SWWIM Every Day. See http://catherineespositoprescott.com