Lessons of our Childhood
Remember the time the three of us
played crack the whip
and Greg crashed his bike so bad
he had to go to the hospital?
That moldy old rope we were using
got all wrapped up in his front wheel.
Our quiet neighborhood street shook
with thunder when he slammed the pavement.
I ran into tell Mom.
She scooped him up so fast.
Got him onto the kitchen floor
to wait for Dad to get home.
Greg’s elbow was torn
so jagged and his lip
was split in two. Now,
I can’t remember how many
teeth he was missing,
but it was more than one.
On the way to the hospital
Mom, you, and me were
crammed into the backseat
of Dad’s cream colored Volvo.
Greg was reclined up front
just moaning and bleeding.
Dad sped the whole way.
The ER was really busy and time
slowly dripped by like the faucet
in the old kitchen that Dad
never got around to fixing.
I guess a kid’s bike accident
didn’t take priority to the fevers
and stab wounds in that rundown city hospital.
After he finally saw the doctor
he kind of limped out.
Holding onto Dad’s pocket
like it was the only thing holding him up.
His eyes half closed and bruised plum purple.
27 stitches remember?
12 in his elbow and 15 in his lip.
A whole mess of cotton stuffed
in his mouth where his teeth used to be.
When we got home Mom
put the TV in his room,
and gave him that little silver bell
to ring if he needed anything.
Grandma and Grandpa even came over
and brought him some videos to watch
and ice cream to eat.
After that Mom and Dad
never told us we couldn’t play
crack the whip, never even
told us to more careful. I guess they
wanted us to learn our own lessons,
and they knew sometimes
it hurt to be a kid.