A Poem by Malcolm Glass




My Bicycle



Pennies, quarters gathered

from my mother’s change

purse for weeks, tumbled

from the jar to be rolled,

a heavy ffteen dollars.


Foster Fanning’s Bicycle

Repair Shop had seven used

bikes lined up at the curb.

We had just enough for the least

expensive one. Mr. Fanning

had cobbled together a mangy

hybrid from his stock of broken

bikes, a heavy-duty frame,


the fork and fenders from

a Monkey-Ward, one wheel

from a J. C. Higgins, the other

from a Schwinn, and handlebars

like horns on a steer, from God

knows. He gave it a new paint

job with a brush: thick,

shiny black enamel.


He said it was a Roadmaster,

though the logo had vanished

under the paint. So my bicycle

was nameless, like Dickinson’s

frog. It ate puffed rice and wore

white tee-shirts with rolled-up

sleeves. It sat at the back

of the classroom and never

raised its hand. My bike and I

rode down the street quite

anonymous, forgettable,

like a stranger in an unmarked

grave, the hero in an unpublished

story, a nameless Samaritan

too good to have a name.




Poems by Malcolm Glass have been published in many journals, including Poetry (Chicago), Nimrod, The Sewanee Review, High Plains Literary Review, The Laurel Review, and Prairie Schooner. He is a retired professor of creative writing and former editor for Zone 3 and Cumberland Poetry Review. Glass has published seven books of poetry and several books on the craft of writing.

As a writer he has been guided by a comment W. H. Auden made to him fifty-seven years ago: “The best way to become a poet is to write oneself through the history of poetry in English.”


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