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55 Miles From Yesterday, Jane Schapiro, biking, Mississippi


With no shoulder to ride on we walked

our bikes across Vicksburg Bridge.


As trucks blasted past us hauling their freights,

we clung to the right of the solid white line.


Whatever you do, I reminded myself,

stay focused on the solid white line.


Steadily, we made our way like needles

stitching a fabric’s seam. Eventually


I couldn’t resist, couldn’t stem the urge

to turn my head, glance over steel trusses


at the river below. Memory swelled, its muddy swirl

lapped my mind: every St. Louis summer


I’d hear of someone who went for a swim,

ignored warnings, dove right in,


(glancing, I felt a passing rig),

the body later washing on shore.


That’s the danger of undertow

also the thrill.




Vicksburg, Mississippi

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