Road Therapy

by Bill Glose

Wrapping long hair into a bun 

pinned behind her head, 

 

she dons a full-face helmet and gloves, 

biker jacket and studded pants.

 

Sliding into platform boots 

she mounts her Honda 450, 

 

a motorcycle three times her weight. 

Sheathed in gray leather, she rockets

 

like an androgynous missile, 

bony grip of daily despairs 

 

loosening with every mile. 

Cutting wind like the tip 

 

of a plunging spear that knows 

nothing but forward motion, 

 

she leans into the road’s music—

backbeats of steel-belted rubber

 

on asphalt as tree-lined streets chant

from heartwood at the center 

 

of every ring, the echoing pulse 

thrumming within her hurtling chest.

Climatology

by Bill Glose

Like a bum-kneed man sensing

drops in barometric pressure,

pausing halfway to the mailbox,

shielding his eyes from bright sun,

 

scanning the blue and wispy white

in search of black anvils,

I feel the change in atmosphere 

the moment I open the front door.

 

No stomping feet. No slamming drawers.

Abba trilling from speakers.

Every planet in the Solar System 

has an atmosphere, particles dancing

 

across the surface thanks to gravity. 

Jigs of each one depends on

periodicity of their patterns,

creating images we see 

 

through telescopes—dust storms

on Mars, the Great Red Spot on Jupiter,

holes in the gaseous blue of Neptune. 

Light years away, epistellar jovians 

 

shed atmospheres into space 

like shimmering tails of comets, 

day sides blistering with heat, 

night singing with supersonic wind.

 

Here on Earth, in this house, 

chopping sounds lead me 

to the kitchen where a haze

of onion engulfs my girlfriend, 

 

tear-streaked cheeks for once 

having nothing to do with cancer,

clusters of damaged cells on x-rays 

resembling strange phenomena 

 

from distant corners of space—

globular gatherings of gas 

or the elephant-like trunks

of the Pillars of Creation.

 

I’m making tofu burritos, 

she says, choking, smiling,

turning back to the stove.

And what can I do but stand 

 

gape-mouthed, like an astronomer 

on some exoplanet we’ve yet 

to discover, peering through 

a curved lens at our tiny rock 

 

sheathed in swirling clouds,

witnessing the curling froth

of a hurricane as it turns from land

and disappears into endless blue.

Bill Glose is a former paratrooper and combat platoon leader. The author of four poetry collections, Glose was named the Daily Press Poet Laureate in 2011 and featured by NPR on The Writer’s Almanac in 2017. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, including The Missouri ReviewRattle, The Sun, Narrative Magazine, and Poet Lore. His current work reflects upon the panic- and dread-filled months after his girlfriend was diagnosed with lung cancer.

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