The Cyclist

Photo by Yuri Gorid

for Claire (1943–2021)

For twenty years I’d see her on her bike,
cloud of white hair tucked inside her helmet,
riding to the farmer’s market. Or to teach. To learn.
Rain, snow, darkness—nothing stopped her
from cycling toward her destination.
The only time she’d pause was grounded
in her garden, on her knees, bent above
a yield she knew would always come
with time and proper care.  

How could she stay upright so long
when so many others fell? Fiercely
and modestly helping bend
the universe’s moral arc,
she believed in her bones
that hope and justice would come
around again, if only we’d all
pedal harder,
and in the right direction.

Karen Kilcup

Karen Kilcup is a longtime teacher, with many first-generation students and students of color. She invites them to understand themselves as both individuals and community members. She has moved around for work, but was for several years a member of Amesbury (Mass.) Meeting, which was energetically doing antiwar and antiracism work.

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