Up the Hill to Maplewood

Up the hill to Maplewood,
little legs striding anxiously,
pushing a bright red bike
at age seven was a feat.

Family long gone are witnesses
to failure and successes;
standing on a stone to reach the seat,
we would work until the sun had set.

With bloodied knees and elbows as proof,
Dad and I would head back home;
my head low and Dad’s head high
“We will try again tomorrow.”

Mom would bandage my feelings and wounds
with salves and love.
She would say “Riding a bike is tough.”
“And a bit rough,” I would say.

Up the hill to Maplewood we would trudge,
the next day and the next,
standing on the same stone
so my foot could give it a nudge.

One ordinary evening,
with the sun ending it’s daily journey,
I step on the stone,
placing my butt on the bright red banana seat,
and my toe gives the stone a gentle push.

Pumping and pedaling, the bike shifts from right to left,
shaky at first. And then a bit more steady.
“Keep going!” Dad’s voice is distant and excited.

For a few moments, Maplewood Cemetery
fills with screams of joy as a boy,
riding his bright red bike,
flies for the very first time.


One thought on “Up the Hill to Maplewood”

  1. I walk through Maplewood now. Sometimes I run because no one can see me and running is the only thing that makes the feelings of anxiety settle down some. Both of my parents are in the Maplewood Cemetery and that’s where I go to talk to them, to “visit” them and sometimes to rage at the injustice that at 44 I am an orphan.
    When you’re a child you worry about losing your parents. What would you do without your parents and then the sick years come around and you’re the one taking care of your parents and making decisions you never wanted to have to make and then they’re gone in a 4 year span you have no parents and you’re constantly thinking “what would mom do?” “How did dad make this?”. I run through Maplewood because no one can see me there and the tears that don’t seem to stop falling.


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