Creek Locks Road

I pass the boat launch, muddied,
littered with beer cans
patterned tire treads crisscrossing
the earth in undulating waves
You were afraid to swim there
for fear of fish hooks in little feet

That first double hill was so hard
on my first ride
I had to walk the bike up
embarrassed, breathless,
I discovered the wine berries
ripe, guarded by a battalion of poison ivy
I picked them anyway
Then rode on,
past Amy's house
with its procession of white geese
and bright yellow flowers

And on
envying the houses
with their view of my river

And on,
past the desolate place
where the old locks, now overgrown,
follow a straight line beside the river
There is an iron gate here,
With gargoyles,
and more wine berries grow by that tired mailbox
held to its post with frayed duct tape

The road unspools like ribbon after that
the river fading away
replaced by a tiny farm
where guinea hens once crossed
a dozen in all
I had to stop my bike
next to a school bus to wait for them.

And on,
under the thruway
where the roar of traffic
is an endless wave of sound
confusing my senses
making me feel somehow exposed, disconnected
until the river is back,
just at the tip of my sight
And I'm almost to Rosendale

It's easy here
I coast down the last mile
until I see the bridge
where bike and river finally meet
The Rondout, rushing underneath me.

And on, still,
into the small streets
where my hardest climb awaits
but first, more wine berries
the biggest patch of all