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It was bigger than him
Smooth heart wood     called a walking stick

For a three-year-old trying to be older
It’s not about walking     running

Being first down the trail      nor about the tangle
Of want and need        in his legs

And it’s not about the way we roll
The pitiful scraping of the chin

While the spine      backbends around
The roll and skiddish landing

It’s not the extended yeowl       or the interminable pause
Before there is breath or comfort’s coos

This is about the apple      in his other hand
The arching of grace       fruit

Bump and rolling      to a stop
Waiting      on the other side of the parking lot

A shiny kind of         sweetness
Brushed off and bitten into       after it’s over

Susan Cowger’s chapbook, Scarab Hiding, was released in 2006 by Finishing Line Press. Her work has most recently appeared in CRUX, Poem-a Week, (Sage Hill Press), McGuffin and The 55 Project. She is founder and past editor of Rock & Sling: A Journal of Witness. She lives in Cheney, Washington.

Image: Annie Spratt on Unsplash