The Duel

There were two children:

Alike in dress,

Feature and feist!

They were raggedly

Covered in love,

The affection of all that looked on–

Gentle watchers

Of their duel to the death;

And the laughter flowed

(I’m certain)

From many cars

Where adults who had

Forgotten games and childhood

Gazed with firmer memory

At this pair:

Lightning haired ragamuffins

—Truly—

Using their extended arms

(Practically gone beyond reach)

And a firmly pointing forefinger

As swords to duel with.

The girl was the taller,

She was feline agile

But the boy

Had the courage

Of a rampaging bear.

I sat enraptured…

Many seconds longer

Than absolutely necessary

At the stop sign to have my share

Of uprising mirth.

There was no one behind,

I waved on one to the side,

I checked

He smiled too.

I wondered if he would write tonight

As well…

My two ferocious angels

Scrabbled across the sidewalk,

And I felt

—The terrible grown-up fear—

Oh, I hope they don’t

Step into the road

… Or fall.

Isn’t it funny!?

Children believe adults foolish

For these thoughts

“Why do you worry?

What would I fall for?

I’m not going to go in the road.”

Mother and Father were nowhere

(That I could see)

And I felt darker fears

Creep beneath my shield

Of happiness.

A busy intersection,

And two sweet ones

Alone.

My fears made me ill

Because I wanted to enjoy

(Just a little longer)

The sight of their fervor

For life and the challenge,

The game and the shining victory!

It would elude them

The rest of their lives.

I wanted the vicarious pleasure

Of knowing the goal beforehand,

That it was immediate and attainable,

And if unattained…

Would essentially not matter

In the least.

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~ by Rebecca Erickson on May 18, 2015.

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