Barely able to stand, I put the bike between my legs and pray to be an eagle’s feather for all eternity. There’s a charge in the air, as endorphins mute my cowbell heart and offer the words light as a feather, stiff as a drink. To the people in cars, I look like every other cyclist switching gears with precision and ease in a colorful jersey and padded bike shorts. They either love us or hate us by riding so close we choke on carbon monoxide. But it doesn’t matter— I can’t feel my arms or legs. What creeks underneath enables the momentum, the enabler I pair with wine better than cheese or sex because I float freestyle with a Merlot mustache after being part of a heavy head and hooked beak during the work week when I don’t have legs running down the side of my glass.
Christy Bailes lives in Fairfield, California. A former clarinetist with the USAF Band of the Golden West, she is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in creative writing from CSUS with the intent of publishing a book of poetry. While attending CSUS, her poem “Sonnet on a Sloth” was selected for publication in the 2019 edition of the Calaveras Station Literary Journal. Additionally, in 2016, she received a master’s degree in English and creative writing with an emphasis in poetry from SNHU, where she studied with Patrick Culliton, author of Sam’s Teeth. During this time, SNHU’s online literary journal The Penmen Review selected 18 of her poems for publication. Before obtaining her first master’s degree, she studied poetry for ten years with Lynne Knight, author of Again. As a result of this mentorship, Christy Bailes has won an honorable mention twice in the Mattia International Poetry Contest. In 1993, she obtained a bachelor’s degree from Eastman School of Music in clarinet performance. Besides writing poetry and playing music, she teaches Water Aerobics at three different aquatic centers and inspires others to lead a healthy lifestyle. In her free time, she uses running and cycling to fuel her creativity.