Machuca’s Motorcycle

Sometimes I think motherhood has seeded and grown an adventurous spirit in me, much more than I ever knew before the kids came along. Maybe when you’re pinned down and needed so much, it stirs a desire to be free.  Then, I remember “It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other (Ecclesiastes 7:18).”
I’ve always loved that old Neil Young song, “Unknown Legend.”  You’ll see I pay homage to it in this poem.  I can just picture the woman he sings about.  I think she looks a lot like me, and maybe you too.

Machuca’s Motorcycle

“Now she’s dressin’ two kids
Lookin’ for that magic kiss
She gets that far-away
look in her eyes…”  -Neil Young

Early in the morning before most people are awake
my baby cries for milk.
I slump down the hall to her.  We nurse in the rocking chair.
Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I hear my neighbor, Machuca
start up his motorcycle,
across the street.

Though my window blinds are closed, I can picture that bike.
She leans on her sexy, thin kickstand.
Small leaves twirl on the ground behind the exhaust pipe.
Inside his house, Machuca pours coffee into his thermos.
Takes one last glance around the place.
Turns down the thermostat,
then locks the front door.
I like to think he doesn’t even know when he’ll return.

The baby has finished eating.  She coos up tenderly at me.
Machuca revs the engine and
my baby’s eyes startle. I smile.
The baby thinks I smile for her. Which, of course, is true.
But my mind is on that motorcycle, getting warmer as she
glides down our street,
turning out from the city, away from all the indubitable ties that bind.