The Little Gymnast

There once was a child who loved to shine with the sun
to twirl and skip and laugh with the moon and stars
to frolic and smile and run with the rolling waves
So a man saw this beautiful child, dancing in the wind
and he saw her and took her to show off to others
and he put her in a box in the dark and told her
what she could do and what she could not do at all
The days of gymnastics became a part of this child
And the heat of midday and cold of early dawn
and the pain and tears and fears of practice
of dead-last places and fading wishes for stepping higher
And begs for approval, the deep shame of criticism,
all the pretty little girls shoved into tight-fitting leos
and the hidden blisters and stubborn bruises of another day
and the child cried and screamed and shouted to leave
you see, she missed the sun and the moon and the stars
the rolling waves and the wind that danced with her
the child wilted slowly, and no one ever noticed
they were shouting of competitions and prizes and money
she grew quiet, and solemn, and the light left her body
till she drifted off and became a whisper in the clouds





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