Wheels Don’t Build Themselves

On the drive side the spokes are too tight. The dish has pulled aside, and riding with no hands isn’t safe.

It was never perfectly round, and the tire went flat years ago, so each bump transfers to the seat.

There are dents in the rim, each blemish a reminder of a failure, a betrayal, or a wreck.

Sand paper, a file, and a rag to pick up the shards.

Oil applied to the nipples, so they won’t strip.

Patching the tube, airing it up, and noticing a blow out in the tire.

Cutting the lock nuts off the races to free the rusted axle, wiping out the hub to shine a light inside, and taking note of the cratered belly.

Each article is another batch of new grease, and fresh bearings.

I am not a wheel, nor a unicycle. I am the frame. The brake cables. The chain.

My drive-train is intact, and this is a search for the tools to maintain it, so the cogs will take longer to strip out.

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