A young mother on a motor scooter stopped at a traffic light, her little son perched
on the ledge between her legs; she in a gleaming helmet, he in a replica of it, smaller, but
the same color and just as shiny. His visor is swung shut, hers is open.
As I pull up beside them on my bike, the mother is leaning over to embrace the child,
whispering something in his ear, and I’m shaken, truly shaken, by the wish, the need, to
have those slim strong arms contain me in their sanctuary of affection.
Though they call this regression, though that implies a going back to some other
state and this has never left me, this fundamental pang of being too soon torn from a bliss
that promises more bliss, no matter that the scooter’s fenders are dented, nor that as it
idles it pops, clears its throat, growls.
About this poem:
"I’ve had motor scooters of my own over the years, but this one, which I stopped beside on my way to my studio when I lived in Paris, was my favorite. And the mother, garbed in a helmet, so recently a purely masculine accouterment, became wearing it more protective, more touching, more the mythical all-powerful mother of the unconscious towards whom we long."