Pawl and Ratchet

by T. Pitre
(Washington State)

In the morning mist
lean predators
in black and yellow lycra
fly along the trail.
Wheels spin.

If we listen attentively
we hear
a brittle hum
and buzz
of spokes,
cogs
and chains.

No ring of the courtesy bell,
or a chipper “on your right”,
as they fly past an older woman running on the trail.
Unconscious,they skim past
close
on both sides
stealing her breath.

The middle-aged mantis
in the lead,
jaw set,
sheathed in a gray, wrinkled, fabric skin
determined,
selfish to others on the trail.

They coast on,
the tick tick,
click click
of ratchet and pawl
as the pale creatures
move forward
through the morning,
oblivious to all
but themselves.

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