We saw the Italian graffiti from the back
of his motorcycle: tu storia sempre
sara parte de la mia. He pushed
the visor of his helmet up to point it out
and translate: “The story of you is now a part of me.”
And now that story is a part of me – a small piece,
a shared identity. It was my first time
on two wheels like that, swerving around cars and up
onto the sidewalk, my shaking arms a vise
around him, my hands clenched tight
in the pockets of his jacket.
It’s not the thought of dying I was scared of,
but the wet smear on the pavement, the sound of breaking
bones, the bits of torn-off skin– the idea that shifting
my weight could change our course, lay us
down on concrete. That night we sped back
to his apartment after a three-course meal
and good red wine. The wind we made battered us
more than before, but I loosened my grip
and for the second time looked somewhere other
than his shoulder. The headlights of cars
made short funnels through the darkness. If I wanted
I could have struck the mirrors off their sides.
It wasn’t until he swung me off the seat and walked
the bike into its garage that we realized
one of the saddlebags was open, that I lost
my purse and all my things off the back.
I’m not quite satisfied with the end, I think, but it’s better than before. Marginally.