Tour

By Jana-Lee Germaine

Featured Art: Fields of Lavender by Evelyn Jenkins

He enters a dream where I am planting chard
or changing sheets. Calls, Sorry, I’m sorry.
Takes my hand. Come back.

He’s seven years too late,
and I am happy now.
The day we went to court

he scaled the stairs behind me, cried
Don’t do this. We’ll move
to California, start again.

It’s July, I’m watching the Tour de France,
180 men ascending Mont Ventoux.
The steady rhythm of their legs,

bodies barely rocking mile after mile –
their world tilted to 9%.
They push their bikes up the grade

because they’ve trained for years
and it’s the day to climb.
Every extra ounce tossed aside.

One year Hoogerland dangled
in barbed wire. But he climbed
back on his bike,

won King of the Mountains that stage.
In ’95 Casartelli
missed a curve in the Pyrenees,

hit a concrete block, and died,
because sometimes man
is just a man, a bike a bike.

I ride much smaller mountains,
but on every summit, I catch my breath.
I have to haul my own soul for decades yet.


Jana-Lee Germaine’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Nimrod, Sugar House Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Cimarron Review, Presence 2022, december, Rock & Sling, New South, The Windhover, The Baltimore Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Poet Lore, Southern Poetry Review, The Carolina Quarterly, and elsewhere. She earned an MFA from Emerson College and is a Senior Poetry Reader for Ploughshares. A survivor of domestic violence in her first marriage, she lives with her very nice second husband, four children, and four rescue cats in semi-rural Massachusetts.

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