Saturday, August 23, 2014

Headline Poem 8/23/14 -- the summer she started to count her steps

the summer she started to count her steps

there was the 
summer 
she started 
to count her steps. 
Six
for the right foot meant six 
for the left. 
It might have been winter or fall, 
or hell 
even spring,
  with dusty shelves and 
settling things. 

The 
babysitter looked perplexed, and asked,
"Why are you counting your steps?"
   (Because if she didn't then nobody         would, 
     and that mattered to her)

That was 
the beginning
 of the rituals that shifted
between fading and 
alternating, 
the same order with 
soap and shampoo. 
Then 
 the shoes,  
and socks when it was cold. 
Right foot first. 
She's wasn't sure 
what would happen if the 
left
 cut in line, 
But she was too afraid to try. 

Up against the table corner 
her arm would brush,
and then, 
the opposite side must get 
the rush
by way of the fridge 
or the doorway, or even a towel. 
Both sides must even out. 

I'm surprised she could walk 
anywhere 
with 
all of the cracks that still
hadn't broken her mother's back,
like they 
threatened in songs. 
But
It was 
early, and though her trust 
thrived
most days, she
wasn't ready 
to see what was 
in store 
   for her 
just yet.