October Poem 13: Lance, the Skate God

Like a park full of RVs leaving to

Outrun the coming storm. He barreled down

The hill littered with leaves and sticks and rocks.

Zigzagging to avoid the big crack in

The sidewalk, the old man felt less himself

Than he thought he would skating on the board.

He had not ridden one since the 60s.

And should not be on one now, but his feet

Vibrated under his weight. Now, he was

Speeding towards the old wooden bridge that he

Had, at first, been sure he could safely make

It over. Now that he had seen the kids

Sitting and coasting down a gentle hill

On their skateboards and stopped to tell them how

 

He used to ride when he was a kid. Now

That he had asked if he could try a board and

Show them a trick or two. Now that he was

Still in great shape for his age. Now that a

Small rock shook him. Now that it shot out from

Under his front right wheel. Now that he was

Too fast to bail out, there was the gap. The

Gap that never posed a problem while

Walking. The gap that would catch the wheels and

Send him flying. The gap between the path

And the first plank of the bridge. Now that he

Couldn’t bail out without breaking a bone,

He gave in to his hidden childhood.

He pushed himself up lifting the front of

 

The board and slid his feet forward to pull

The board up and lighten the impact on

The back wheels. He heard the rat-tat-tat-tat

Of the wheels over the wooden slats but

He had hit the gap and his knees buckled

And the board had swerved left and then right, but

God bless the simple child, he was still

On his feet coasting to a stop at the

Apex of the old walking bridge. He was

Remembering the tear that he had had

In his knee. He returned the skateboard to

The kids. His cheeks reddened. Embarrassed and

Exhilarated. And enough of both

things to last him for the next 60 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elastic

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