Poem-a-Day – January 1 – The Summer of Seven

The prompt was simply “Seven.” Could be seven lines, seven words, seven stanzas, something that happened when you were seven, seven repeats… just seven.

The Summer of Seven

I was a child of seven
And I was invincible
On the pink and white bicycle.
Short-covered legs blistering
Against the plastic of
The pink banana seat,
Looking down the hill.

Gravel crunched under tires
As the paint on the chassis
Grew dusty from the
Heavy red dirt
At the top of the hill
At the family house
In Railroad Flat.

The cousins were all
Down at the pool.
I could hear them laughing.
The water called to me,
A cool oasis just out of reach;
I had dawdled, and dragged,
And the car left without me.

I did not want to stay
In the stifling house
With snoring great-aunts and uncles
Sleeping away the hottest part
Of the long summer day.
I longed to swim and splash,
Sleek like an otter in the blue pool.

The bicycle crunched the gravel
As the tires rolled back and forth;
Tiny clouds of red dust
Snaked around my sandal’ed feet
As they stepped on and off
The cracked plastic pedals,
Hesitating.

I took a deep breath
And pushed off with a crunch,
The gravel and dust swirling
Like a tiny tornado in my wake.
The bushes were a blur.
All I could hear was wind and birdsong.
I was flying.

My scream woke my father’s cousin,
Who found me at the bottom of the hill,
Tangled in a bush, bleeding.
The call went to the pool.
The car filled and returned.
My bicycle stayed in the road,
One tire still spinning.

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