The Fastest Boy

The fastest boy that ever was,
on a straight stretch of gravel road, has decided
to break the sound barrier.
With telephone poles lining the entire course
like an attentive audience,
a billow of dust streaming behind testifies to
his amazing speed as he pedals.
Redwing blackbirds rise from marshy ditches
and wonder what just passed.
At this velocity, the wind is a constant roar;
if that meadowlark on a post
is singing his praises, he’s unable to hear it.
He once feared the pursuit of
farm dogs, but today he leaves them panting.
At any moment, he expects
to experience a sonic boom’s deafening blast.
Head down, legs pumping,
concentrating on the far horizon, there is no
time to pity the insects that
get caught up in his whirlwind and are left
punch-drunk and directionless.
Assisted by the wind, as his bike accelerates,
he’s begun to speculate on
the possibility of breaking the speed of light.
But then, unexpectedly,
his lungs go flat as a punctured bicycle tire.
Soon sprawled by the road,
heart slowing from a gallop, the fastest boy
marvels at how close he came.

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