Naomi Shihab Nye



                        The Use of Fiction


A boy claims he saw you on a bicycle last week,
touring his neighborhood. "West Cypress Street!" he shouts,
as if your being there and his seeing you
were some sort of benediction.
To be alive, to be standing outside
on a tender February evening . . .
"It was a blue bicycle, ma'am, your braid was flying,
I said hello and you laughed, remember?"

You almost tell him your bicycle seat is thick with dust,
the tires have been flat for months.
But his face, that radiant flower, says you are his friend,
he has told his mother your name.
Maybe this is a clear marble
he will hide in his sock drawer for months.
So who now, in a universe of figures,
would deny West Cypress Street,
throwing up clouds into this literal sky?
"Yes, amigo"–hand on shoulder–
"It was I."


Naomi Shihab Nye, Words Under the Words: Selected Poems, The
Eighth Mountain Press, 1995.