M. Scott Douglass

A Memory of Garden City

I was too young in 1965

to appreciate the irony

of the episode: Alan Epstein

from up the street, whose family

moved from Wilkinsburg

to get away from the blacks,

Alan, who owned and guarded

every toy advertised on TV,

chose to showoff

the neighborhood’s first

10-speed bicycle

the same day the borough

scheduled to tar and gravel

the road. How he

appeared out of nowhere,

speeding downhill

through arm-waving road workers,

passed the gravel truck and

onto the hot goo

that bogged his skinny tires

and sent him tumbling

in the stuff he would peel

from his skin for weeks,

how his mother dragged him

up the street by his one

clean ear and we never

saw that bicycle again.