Their four hooves to my two wheels. We're all going home, but they don't enter the tunnel, the horses. They'll trot over to 3rd Street. Displaced by developers, they walk further north than a few years ago.
Their four wheels to my two wheels. I'm always nervous in the tunnel. If a part fails or I slip and lose control, if I'm lying on the ground in pain, will someone stop to help or even slow down or just drive by and laugh? The tunnel only has one lane for cars. I think most are heading to North Philly, but I don't know.
Coasting downward, hustling upward. A banging base line, a screaming singer, a subtle humming: music from passing vehicles. An open top convertible glides, its passengers giddy. Tinted windows accelerate, their passengers hidden. An unavoidable puddle sprays my back as I ride through it.
They pass me but then I pass them when the light is red at Callowhill. Under the bridge to 95, waiting for green, I wonder whether this one legged man will ask me for change. He does and I give him a quarter. What if an eighteen wheeler loses control up above and crushes us both?
I always peddle slowly on that wide section of 5th Street that follows, basking in a brief sense of accomplishment. The tunnel's just one of ten to twenty minutes, one minute to remind me I've been lucky so far.