I swaddled you in dreams from birth
of health and happiness,
of honeysuckle days and lightning bug nights,
maybe someday Duke or Yale.
For now, your frame too tiny, too frail
for the massive canvas of colours
that would paint your life.
Cruising and crawling melted
into days of dangling from
paper-thin twigs on wintering trees.
But by the first snowflake of your
seventh year, your boots stood dry
in your closet while you lay in bed
for weeks drenched with fever. Illness
we did not understand robbed you
of school days and playground games,
biking, bowling, parties, and sleepovers
with friends. Poking and prodding, tests and
guesses were your life now, and finally
treatment with promise of snowy boots next winter.
Your sweet childhood was now your Everest,
with every crag and crevice a boulder, every
step an avalanche of fear, the distant peak
poking through greying clouds like
a beckoning finger, your damaged health
a relentless, blustery thunderstorm.
We didn't know the hardest part of climbing
was never reaching the top. Not really.
It was the sides.
It was always the sides.
Shelly Blankman and her husband Jon fill their empty nest in Columbia, Maryland with 4 cat rescues. They have two sons, one in New York and one in Texas. After a stint as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the at Marshall University , she followed a career path in journalism and public relations, but her first love has always been poetry. She has been published previously in The Ekphrastic Review, as well as Visual Verse, Verse-Virtual, Silver Birch Press, Poetry Superhighway, and Praxis Magazine.
The Ekphrastic Review
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