What Is True
It is true that my son ran across a length of bleachers, his denim jacket, unbuttoned, lifting out behind elbows as he flew down the steps two or three yards to our right, racing toward his father and me. It is true the arena was cold, loud with light and color, the crowd moving behind us to and from the concession stand as we stood near the half boards of the hockey rink, near the other moms to my left. It is true that my husband, to my right, was a little closer to our son as he approached. But it is also true that a scattering of freckles and baby blue eyes turning (from me?) up to his dad were only partially blocked by my husband's body as I was turning back to our ladies' conversation. It is true I turned back again (was it one second? two?) to hear my husband shout through the din "Can you breathe?" only then to see the pleading look, the slow shake of head, to see my husband grab him turn him bend with arms around him hard and fast pull in— once? twice? It is true I saw something black rise from my husband's back, like years of his life— or death— as the Fireball lodged in our son's throat flew out. It is true all of us were shaken, but my husband saved him. Our son was okay. Nearly twenty years later, I think about it, what I didn't see, and how I turned away.
8 replies on “What Is True”
I felt every beautiful word. You have a gift, my friend. I need more!
I pictured everything you said
Thank you, Dwight!
I can smell the concession stand, and see the faces of happy, chatty ladies and a boy running down and down. Like a film clip running in half speed. I can feel the mother’s shock and guilt–on those few casual seconds that could have devastated her world.
A powerful poem made poignant by the poet’s gift for understatement.
Thank you for your generous remarks, Mia.
Wow! I felt so many different emotions as i read this . It’s beautiful, poignant, scary and I breathed a sigh of relief as if I was there.
You have an amazing gift for understatement! This poem made the adrenaline rush through my veins 20 plus years later.