grape soda & paper route

A huffy three-speed with fenders
is heavier climbing uphill
with saddlebags full of newspapers,
all of which will be placed gently
between the screen door and the inside door,
not tossed on the porch
or the front lawn or the hedges,

and it’s heavier still when attempting
to collect the weekly dues
for the newspaper subscriptions
all of which adds up after weeks
of not answering the door or come back next week
or giving the papergirl cookies
and a wink instead of cash,

but that bike’s sure as hell heavy enough
to practically take flight
after pedaling out to the nursing home,
wiping out face-first in the gravel pit,
sweating and wiping and smearing ink grime,
whipping down the hill to the Gulf station
for a six a.m. cold Nehi Grape from the soda machine.