Part postcard home, part visitors’ guide, part People’s History of the United States, Laura Madeline Wiseman’s poems split open America with an observer’s care. A bicyclist rides the open road with no windshield, and this chronicler pockets lists of lost objects, animals, weathers, geologies, customs, body pains, and the mind’s relentless thoughts. Wiseman has a deft hand with meter, language and word play (Wiseman’s wisdom). Like the unique communications of walkers on the Appalachian Trail, cross-country cyclists connect with tips, routes and safe havens. But for all that, a cyclist is vulnerable and solitary, as noted in “Day 30: Cycling out of the Great Divide/Sweetwater Station, WY to Dubois, WY/100 miles,” a day of soft tar patches, potholes, gravel, growling RVs and semis, Wiseman assesses the sharp drop-off and asks, “What gets left behind—bad/routes or cyclists who lost their grip? What’s waiting?” It’s a compelling metaphor for the measure of our lives. Reading this book, I found myself asking, could I do this? The calendar answered, there is no time. The body answered, there is no time. But to keep pushing forward, remembering to see, that’s the gift of this salient work.
—Karen Shubert, author of I Left My Wings on a Chair