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The White Bicycle
by Catherine Conroy

I had a black bicycle
I painted it with glossy enamel
It was blue when my brothers rode it
They taught me how to ride

The crossbar was a challenge
At first, I hopped over it from foot-to-foot
Eventually, I rode no-hands
Not always a good idea if you’re going around a corner
That’s how I landed in some bushes

The day my bike got scratched and dented
I’d peddled down Main Street not far from my home
An older boy threw a basketball into the middle of my back
I careened into a heap, leapt up and charged at him
I kicked and scratched and punched
His face and neck were mighty red

Did he think I was a boy when he saw me ride by?
If I’d been riding a white girl’s bicycle
Would he have thrown his basketball at me?

February 16 
By Catherine Conroy

Black hair, headlight eyes, a determined chin
I imagine you playing checkers and chess, Monopoly and Clue
Building with an erector set and mixing a chemical concoction
Perhaps, taking appliances apart…
          Mom’s iron and toaster were never quite the same

A petite man, not much taller than me
You taught me all the things you liked to do
Baseball, football, basketball, and kick ball
Along with tennis, circle ball, and ping pong
          Including wicked spins

No concessions

You showed me how to dance
My hand on your shoulder, yours at my waist
I wasn’t allowed to lead, “that’s for me,” you said
“and all the fellows who’ll be falling at your feet”
          You bowed and made me laugh

My first high school dance
You rescued me…a boy stood me up
“Let me be your date. No one will know I’m in college
“I bought a corsage, in case he forgot”
          Did you know the boy was a liar?

No one determined if you jumped or were pushed from the overpass

Wearing wings I imagine you happy
It’s the only way I can breathe
It is the anniversary of your death
          Big brother

CatherinePictureWHatCatherine Conroy, a life-long resident of Illinois, enjoys being cloistered with her writing in her studio overlooking the Rock River. She writes fiction and nonfiction as well as poetry and is currently working on a novel, a memoir, and a collection of short stories. In addition to her MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago, she has attended conferences and workshops throughout the United States, receiving awards from Writers in Paradise, The University of Wisconsin-Madison Writers’ Institute, and The In Print Writing Competition. Her work has been published in The In Print Professional Writers Newsletter; Word of Art Vol I; The Allegory Project; Other Voices – collected pieces edited by Norbert Blei; A Slender Thread anthology; The Professors Quarters; Teacher and place; Inseparable – collected pieces edited by Alice D’Alessio, Albert DeGenova, Jude Genereaux, and Susan O’Leary. Catherine is affiliated with In Print and Chicago Writers Association. www.CConroyWriter.com

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