Coasting
by Stephen Gibson

Tonight, riding home, I keep looking up at the distant radio towers, and watching the red lights flashing on and off over the city and the hills. As I ride, the summer night is just beginning around me. And I like it, this overlapping hour between coming home and going out, the hour of cars circling the blocks in search of parking, of laughter from rooftop restaurants, and music that echoes into the street from open bar room doors. Downtown, people are still walking to their subway stops, while behind them the internally lit office buildings are becoming palaces— block after block of burning light simmering toward a brown-out. I ride hard through traffic, noticing turn signals, smelling the pollen in the air, and wondering to myself what is important in this world? At this moment someone I know might be lifting money from their wallet at a crowded happy hour, or staring at closed storefronts filled with fashion magazines and other attention getting devices. I am seeking to find the meaning below the static of the merchandise. Then, at the top of the rise, I stop pedaling and let myself coast down the last avenue. Overhead, the sequences click on. Click off. I can see the sunset like a forest fire slow-walking across the suburbs beyond the river, heading west. “Touch me now, in this fading light...” might be words to a song I would like to hear right now, or they might be the words I want to say to you when we are lying together in the darkness, and the night is cool across the city once again. Click on, and I am coming. Click off, I’m almost there.