A Small Friction [From BA 43-500]

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A Small Friction

On days when

my fender’s on the tire

—I know I should fix it

the pleasant drone

that rises then falls with every rotation

sounds just like the hum and buzz

of cicadas

in the Midwest in the summer

when you can’t go outside

without hearing their song


like heat.


There are no cicadas in Oregon

—or perhaps they’re just not as loud

since I only hear them

on my bike ride to work

on days when

my fender’s on the tire.

That is, until I hit a bump, the parts realign

and the only song I hear

is the wheels whizzing

the hub and axle in concert.


But on other days

when the fender hugs the tire too closely

after some distracted fix-it job

there are no cicadas.

Just an incessant whine

like a perturbed power line.

And I feel the wheel’s strain from the small friction

deep inside my bones.


And it’s funny how on those days

when the wind is so strong

you pedal like a zoetrope horse

stuck in stride.

And it’s your third day late for work

and your second of not caring.

And he won’t say it but you know that you are losing him.

You dismount to coax the metal from the rubber

with your idiot fingers.

And you almost cry

because you would do anything

to make that fucking




And how on other days

it feels like the only cicadas in Oregon 

are singing

just for you.

Evan P. Schneider