I once knew a woman who was a biker. She was many other things, too, but she was very proud of being a biker. She and her husband went to Sturgis every year, had many colorful, funny and frightening biker stories to tell. Another woman we knew once made the mistake of asking if Joan rode on the back of her husband’s bike. Joan wasted no time nipping that idea in the bud: “I don’t ride bitch for anyone,” she said. I was a little, shall we say, taken aback. I get where she was coming from, though, the reasons she would want to be clear that she wasn’t dependent on her husband in that way, that we shouldn’t always assume the ‘girl’ is going to ride in the back.
I get that … but it’s also true that, as a non-driver, I’ve always been the passenger on motorcycles. Only two of my exes had bikes, and we didn’t ride together all that much, so I think that just qualifies me at the level of ‘spectator’ or something. I was thinking about one of those exes today …
sharp, blue-black helmet,
legs, arms, wrapped around him tight
eyes squeezed against wind
no, I wouldn’t trade this ride
here, this is trust at high speed
Just to be clear: this tanka is not about any of the men in either of the photos. It’s true that I took both pictures, but I have never gone for a ride on that gorgeous red bike (Alas!), or any of the others.