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Break Away.

I once lived in a cul-de-sac.
There were pine trees at the end of our street which years ago gave way to some man’s idea of progress.
The woods were an endless city maze of straw and sandy dirt. Trails and fallen trees.
It was bike paths and shade. Kid deals and neighborhood. Baseball cards.
The safety of a circle.
On banana seats and handle bars
We would ride.
Bike gang circa 1975 singing songs from the radio.
On the edge was the 7-eleven.
I remember the day my father let go of the back of my training wheels-less bike. I looked over my right shoulder. Then I think I fell over.

I have broken one bone in my life.
Ever. Grownup.
Ring finger. Left hand.
I was riding a bike in New York. Where the World Trade Center should have been.
Empty space and bright lights.
I grabbed the wrong brake and everything else went wrong. And then wrong again.
I flew home with my hand in a congratulatory thank you cup of ice.
Surgery on your hand will sometimes involve drugs and discussing trips with your doctor you’ve never taken (but would like to take) to Italy.
And famous paintings.
And other places you would like to go but have never been.
And other famous paintings.

When I was a kid my father pulled our teeth.
Loose kid teeth. Barely hanging on.
He would take a handkerchief from his back pocket and in the blink of an eye.
Without warning. Eyes closed.
Probably my father closed his eyes too.
It’s ok.
Dad has your tooth and later Mom will be Tooth Fairy.
Turning teeth into quarters at approximately 10:30 p.m.
That quarter will allow you baseball cards with flat pieces of gum or maybe a Slurpee.
Through the woods. On the other side.
Circle around
It’s ok
Past progress.