By Lewis Caskey

we cry out– the name of the game

where dad and I would race

pushing our bodies and our bikes,

stretching our front tires over the line

past the mailbox or stop sign

flying in the face of traffic.

Breathe. The race over, the moment past;

lactic acid fills our legs, lungs expand insistently.

We don’t take score, we don’t take tallies,

neither remembers who won.

Bitter manure brings back our senses,

away from an imagined race and back to now,

to a gentle hill and corn cut low,

a faded red barn behind cattle grazing.

The rapidly cooling air bites at our lungs,

causing a shortness of breath.

Orange and yellow leaves from trees fall, fall;

fall brings a brittle starkness to the landscape.

–With Thanks to Julia Kasdorf

“I wrote this poem last semester in a creative writing class, as a part of an assignment where we were to imitate the structure of a famous poem. I chose Julia Kasdorf’s ‘Double the digits,’ because I loved the way her quick, two-line stanzas captured the fleeting moments of a game she and her sister played.  I took that idea and then applied it to a game that my dad and I would play while biking. I like this poem a lot because, to me, it captures the feeling of biking in the fall as best as it can; when I get tired of this cold weather, it gets me to think about the joy of biking outside again.” – Lewis Caskey