Gravity, Gravel
Jane Zwart

Gravity, Gravel

After supper, in summer, he rides. Gruff little alto,
duc du cul de sac, his handlebar ribbons

rainbow stubble, he pedals furiously, deep in glee.
Only once do we talk and that when,

still astride his trike, he trombones a toy loupe
toward a scrape on my knee and asks

if I cried. Already beadwork, soon that rash will heal
to braille. Not this time I tell him,

but a kid wants to know more: when will he fall
without crying?
                                 Unable to remember

the first time it did not seem an affront—gravity,
gravel—unable to guess when I last cried because I fell,

because a street or a stone broke my skin, I say
I couldn’t say. I do not tell him

Soon, because it will be the truth that hurts. Because
it will be the truth that hurts, I do not even say Soon.

Jane Zwart

teaches English at Calvin University, where she also co-directs the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing. Her poems have previously appeared in Poetry, Rattle, and TriQuarterly, as well as in other journals and magazines.