“Her long hair, the color of her pants,/falls down her back. She has what appears to be a flower tucked behind her left ear.”
The woman is French, young, attractive.
She wears a white blouse and tan culottes,
the liberating, often controversial
fashion that allows her to sit astride
the bike she holds upright in her left hand.
Her right hand, perched jauntily on her
right hip, holds a white soft-brimmed cloth
cap. Her long hair, the color of her pants,
falls down her back. She has what appears
to be a flower tucked behind her left ear.
She looks directly at the artist,
neither smiling nor sad, but pensive,
as if to say, “This is who I am. I enjoy
riding my bicycle. I enjoy riding
alone, by myself. I don’t need you,
though I might deign to let you ride
beside me for awhile if you keep in mind
that I want nothing from you. Nothing.
I have my bike. That’s all I need.”.
W. D. Ehrhart has authored or edited a number of collections of poetry and prose, most recently Thank You for Your Service: Collected Poems and What We Can and Can’t Afford: Essays on Vietnam, Patriotism, and American Life, both from McFarland & Company, Inc. He holds a Ph.D. from University of Wales at Swansea and taught at The Haverford School in Pennsylvania from 2001 to 2019.