Black Leather Pain

by William Doreski

A biker tips and crumbles
in the rotary, his machine
coughing blue smog, his blood

streaking the asphalt. Bad scrapes,
but only a few bones broken,
he lies in state while the whine

of the ambulance strikes a pitch
the human ear can’t accept.
You pity his black leather pain,

his crumpled tattoos, the bent
front wheel and rent saddlebag.
I lean away from the wreckage

and wonder if without intervention
the crows would find and divide him
among themselves, his protests

useless in the clack of their hunger.
The evening settles like a fat man
into a chair. Streaky blue clouds

decorate the east, while the west
indulges one of those sunsets
the Hudson River school admired.

From a stretcher the biker
thanks us for our concern but
he’s really thanking you for posing

so medically alert above him
while blood trickled from his torn arm
and his broken ankle numbed.

Nothing more to be done. Police
roll his motorcycle away,
limping on its warped front wheel.

As the sundown affixes its beam
we turn away to our own concerns,
sure the scarred asphalt will heal.