for andi

my short slim wiry sister, when she broke

her ankle, learned to win a race on crutches.

they lengthen my stride, she said.  so she ran matches

with boys from across the crick.  we even spoke

of championships.  she takes a sip of coke

and tells me her secret:  ‘all it is, is practice.’

then like a firefly’s wings the metal flashes

beneath her strong arms. she’s off with a stroke

imagining the races she has won

and lost, imagining tomorrow’s race.

i see her arms, her hair, magnificent.

for a brief moment, teeth set, her eyes scan

far down the street.  and yet we speak of grace

as though it weren’t something we invent.