Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off — And Hope Nobody Was Watching

When I think back, certain
experiences come to mind
repeatedly. I’m three doors
down, in Jeannie Hedstrom’s
backyard swinging on her
swings — higher, higher,
kicking my legs under me
on the swing back and then
up and out on the swing
forward — arms pushing
on the swing backward,
pulling on the swing for-
ward. This time I’m ready
to jump off the swing, up
and out, sailing farther
than ever before — except,
I fall backward instead
landing on my back, neck
and head, knocking the
wind out of my lungs.
I hop up — hop all around
trying to catch my breath
then I look around to see
if anyone saw my fall.
I don’t think so. I run
home. The next day I
have a stiff neck. I
hate stiff necks.

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