Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Cost

Her bike gave way going around the corner
I found her with a bloody knee full of gravel
But not a tear in her eye
She limped home beside me
And we shared a laugh imagining the ruckus
That would have raised the neighbors
If it had been her sister with a gravel-packed knee

Only the next day her horse startled into a gallop
Threw her to the dirt
Jerked the arm that clung to the reigns
Bruised the tailbone that took the pounding
They tell me she got up, shook it off
Rode that horse back to the barn
Not a tear in her eye

Yesterday she pushed a lawn mower
Rickety and stubborn, heavy in the grass
Off and on we took turns for four long hours
Leaning in hard
Steps determined
Hands growing red and numb
With no complaint

Until the sun drifted just a little lower
Not low enough to bother me
Not yet even twilight
But a shade too low for her failing eyes
That no longer saw the line where she should push
Straining and squinting into the green blur
The tears rose up

Today she came to me for the third time
With the same bloodied knee
Scab torn off twice now
Not from a tragic fall from a bike or a horse
Those she can take with grace
But because her own feet had betrayed her again
Just walking down the driveway
And the tears rose up

"I can't even run around like a normal kid"
Stinging my heart along with hers
No ointments or bandages to offer for her real wounds
Except to tell her that such strength
Such tenacity
Such beauty
Come at a high cost
And that she was earning them well

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