Lessons from pavement

It was the pavement that taught us to be humble in an era of kickstands.
It is not enough, when falling off of a bike, or tripping during third base to home just as your neighbor tags you
out, for a scraped knee to eventually start beading red,
the taste of tomatoes and sand, we’d know,
not enough to bruise or bleed or tear but not cry,
not enough to have neglected kneepads or wrist protection or even a helmet,
to rollerblade into the curb or a bike tire or a car,
not enough to lie sprawled, momentarily in front of your peers,
go ahead and laugh, it does look misplaced, an almost graceful fall,
not enough to pause the game for a misstep,
no, in fact the best lesson the pavement taught was not inner toughness
or how to laugh it off or land with style
but despite kneading the ground with our feet daylight after daylight after game of manhunt at dusk,
The pavement never softens to us, but only shows its flaws in fissures and crack, heaves
up at our bodies and fizzles our mind all gray,
teaching us the pain of a slap
palm down and red;
this is when hands are brute and ring
oh, Mom, oh neighbors, oh sister, Daddy, brother,
what can I do,
my team needs me,
what can I do but carry on?


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