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The Dubose & Dorothy Heyward Society Prize

Arthur McMaster
Greer, SC

 

The Girl with the Just-Pretend Jump Rope

hardly misses a beat, if that is what one counts―

beats. Or is it not a beat, but just a jump? Well, she is good.


Mornings, before her bedroom mirror, she does what amounts

to several series of repetitions. She’d do more if she could,


but the virtual work is tiring. Oh, and I might mention

that she is no longer truly a girl.


That term, shared among lady friends, is merely a convention.

Who would take issue? A pleasantry . . . She can whirl


that just-pretend rope as sweetly and deftly as any teen,

which is who she sees in that wizened old glass


when she focuses on those days, on what is seen,

yet unseen. All of it, all of them, now passed.


For no one told her when she was growing up

that our days, our moments, especially the very best


are transitory. That there is no going back. No loving cup

for making it to this age, for the death of lovers, the loss of sons.