The Dubose & Dorothy Heyward Society Prize
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.