by William Stafford

South of the bridge on Seventeenth
I found back of the willows one summer
day a motorcycle with engine running
as it lay on its side, ticking over
slowly in the high grass. I was fifteen.

I admired all that pulsing gleam, the
shiny flanks, the demure headlights
fringed where it lay; I led it gently
to the road and stood with that
companion, ready and friendly. I was fifteen.

We could find the end of a road, meet
the sky on out Seventeenth. I thought about
hills, and patting the handle got back a
confident opinion. On the bridge we indulged
a forward feeling, a tremble. I was fifteen.

Thinking, back farther in the grass I found
the owner, just coming to, where he had flipped
over the rail. He had blood on his hand, was pale—
I helped him walk to his machine. He ran his hand
over it, called me good man, roared away.

I stood there, fifteen.


  1. I like the way this is written, it's like the snippets of remembering actually are.. in little segments, all the time with you referencing your age. I like the fact it's a surreal memory too, a moment that was disturbing and preposterous..
    Permission granted by the way, lol :-D

  2. Nice. I agree with the watercats about the segments used. A tramautic experience for any 15 year old.

  3. WOW!
    have a great weekend!

  4. The siren call of temptation for a 15 year old with a glimpse of his future as a good man.

  5. Ah, the moment when imagination and reality collide. It's not easy being fifteen.


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