Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Defying gravity.

they called the game Ballerina

and it started like most made up games do

“let’s play Ballerina” one would shout

and she would drop her towel on the grass

and even when her sister called going first

she reminded her of the rules of rank

“i’m older” she would say

and then she would go

running down the dock and leaping

as high as she could

into the July heat to show off her best and most graceful dance moves

defying gravity for just a moment

before she slammed down into the murky water

she would let herself sink

until her toes squished the mud

or her legs felt a cool spot

and then she would scramble to get back to the wooden ladder

which was slick with algae up until the third rung

because she was convinced

the moccasins loved the mud and the cool spots

over and over and over again

running and leaping and dancing and sinking and scrambling

to the soundtrack of

her own “watch this” squeals

and her sister’s “i can do it higher” declarations

and her grandfather’s “you girls slow down and watch those wet spots they’re slippery and those nails can catch your leg if you aren’t careful” worries

and she never thought about things like lunch because

her grandmother always remembered before stomach growls came

and peanut butter sandwiches

and oatmeal raisin cookies

and Diet Cokes were either inhaled or enjoyed

in the hammock on the second-story porch

with an extra door to nowhere

the raisins and the crusts were saved

and mushed into tiny spheres and squares

during the walk back down to the dock

for the fish that lived under the boat

and she was convinced that they stayed there

because the fish were of prehistoric size she thought

and if she let herself believe the fish ventured out past the dock

the girls never would’ve played Ballerina again

or at least they would’ve brought some extra cream and peanut butter

instead of the raisins and crusts

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