Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry, 2011 ▪ Finalist
The little girl has reached a standing place
Her bare feet arc to fit the stone.
She stands with slightly bended knees,
her arms held out, a moment’s frozen grace.
She ponders her next stride
that one is an easy span,
the other a gap too wide
to clear without a leap.
But here’s the thing: the rock she knows she can
attain lies slightly off the straighter way across.
the shorter course, she has to chance
an airborne instant, a heartbeat’s loss
She eyes the glittering expanse
of water, contracts her brows,
and squints to see
ahead to what next steps each choice allows.
She contemplates her complicated hopscotch
with all the poised solemnity of childhood,
while from the riverbank the grown-ups watch
and wonder what she’ll choose. And what she should.