The Steady Stream of Parkway Sounds

Pedaling on the service road
beneath a blue and pink ceiling,
between the soccer field—
used sporadically
throughout the spring and summer—
and the parkway,
constantly cruised upon
all hours day and night.
The streets are
lathered in light
as cosmos called cars
rocket parallel on the other side
of the vine encrusted fence.
On my right,
the side I ride closer to,
a baseball team, little league,
is celebrating a game in which
a golden, hollow cast of a player is fixed atop
the trophy each receive.
They’ll celebrate with handshakes,
pats on the back, and Carvel ice cream.
The cars nearby
keep driving and driving
until so visually out of reach,
sight focuses on a closer one.

Through all of this,
I hurdle past
the vocal shouts,
the automatic whirring,
and nature’s rustling and calls.

I question
who I am on this
temperamental summer evening.
Where is my place, that conformation I felt
yesterday?

The assurance of my youth-
inevitable wins, losses hushed by lullabies-
is gone, a notion
too wild to presently conjure.
The purpose my
contemporaries harbor
put them on a path with
speed, risky propositions that
guarantee security, life.
The shooting stars I witnessed and wished upon
were already taken by those
driving on my left.

I can still taste
the saccharine pledge of
idyllic soft serve vanilla.
I sense the promise
of the parkway but hear the jeers
behind my back
as I operate a bicycle.

So, who am I on this
temperamental summer evening?
Uncertain, and that is absolute.
Divided, I ride
with no helmet and
winded thighs that push,
swaying on lines of faded white paint
that once defined
the rules of the road.

–Salvatore Casto

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