Grit

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It was my father’s voice that lead
him on and gave him direction.
He ran blind amongst the thunder
of tennis shoes on blacktop, the white clouds
made by the racers’ collective pants hanging
in the November chill invisible to him.
“We’re coming to a hill.”
“Veering slightly to the left.”
“Picking up the pace.”
“Finish line straight ahead, 5 yards.”
Such a sprint into faith, trusting
my dad to guide him safely through the thong
of pumping elbows and hard shins. Parkinson’s
already somewhat slowing my father’s stride,
his voice was still quick and clear.
The seizures had not yet arrived that cracked
his teeth, nor had the nerves
become so damaged that his voice
would lose its way. On this road,
and this day, he was sure enough
to carry extra.
“Give it everything you’ve got.”
“Almost done.”

September 2013
Julie Ayers

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