When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving

—Linda Pastan

Rights & Access

from The Imperfect Paradise, 1988
W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, NY

Copyright 1988 by Linda Pastan.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. from The Imperfect Paradise. Copyright 1988 by Linda Pastan. For further permissions information, contact Linda Pastan, lpastan@att.net

  • Linda Pastan

    Linda Pastan (1932- ) is the author of over a dozen poetry collections, including Insomnia: Poems (W. W. Norton and Company, 2015).