Bicycling in L.A. (poetry)

I leave my bike out overnight
come back to its mangled frame
not locked up.
Even the lock is jammed.
I stand in silence for a moment,
remember K-town streets at mid-day,
the bridge over the LA river,
flowing down Santa Monica
with headphones in,
headed to the library,
wind in my hair,
every childhood beach ride
& my dad coming home
& hanging up his helmet.
Sure, traffic is terrifying.
I shout to make sure cars know I’m there.
But this is how I know I’m there.
by the wind in my face,
the ache in my calves.
My body, saying:
I’m alive. I’m alive. I’m alive.

Brian Sonia-Wallace
West Hollywood Poet Laureate (2020-2023)