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.