The Drowning Gull 1 - Page 22

Le Cycliste Dare

by Laura Madeline Wiseman

I dare you to cut the sleeves from a red tee-shirt, to let sun bronze your shoulders, to give your arms over to the miles, to the frame of your bike, to carry things for me—my bicycle, my travel bag, a sack of fruit—simply because they can. Je t'aime, I say to you, as we ride through Le Mars, and then Des Moines. From a vender in La Porte City, I dare you into a blue jersey with pockets for treats, one with room for the buddha of your belly, yet taunt across the muscles of your back like a bedsheet. I follow the V of your form, like I follow you through the blue light of morning to the blue of glooming when you turn your eyes toward me. Je t'adore, I say as we arrive in Bonaparte. I’ve adored you all day, a sun god I’ve bowed to over my handlebars in prayer to bike a three-quarter century, a whole. In Fayette County, I dare you into cycling shorts to let me see on this road the glory of male thighs, the sinew of ankles and knees, the muscular heft of glutes presenting that soft front, the way I ogle every line as we ride, the flowers flaming around us, the green filling the state with heat, the turn ahead to Crystal Lake. Tu es beau, I say to you when you finally lift that dripping body from the water to join me at my picnic spot under a tree. I open my saddle bag of sweets, daring you to my hands, my naked fingers, sun-kissed.

Wonder by Daniela Raytchev

The Drowning Gull