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    a blurred image of a roller coaster

    A poem for my son about grace

    By Jacob Stratman

    March 12, 2018

    “All of my heroes sit up straight.” –Gregory Alan Isakov

    My son slouches when he walks,
    shoulders rounded, chin jutted
    forward, his self moving slow
    and savvy like Cecil the Turtle,
    outwitting Bugs Bunny at every

    turn. If the boy knew to say,
    “Ain’t I a stinka?” I bet he would.
    In the church he sits, shoulder
    blades pinned to the pew, enough
    room between the seat and his lower

    back to place a small child
    or a couple of Eucharist plates.
    At the altar of the rollercoaster,
    the disembodied voice whispers,
    “put your head back against the seat” –

    the lap bar requiring our bodies
    to obey 90 degrees before
    we are launched 65 mph in fewer
    than three seconds, and I grin,
    my face flattening voluntarily

    with glee as my son’s back is straight
    and his chin parallel with the earth
    that is now hundreds of feet below
    him, his eyes directed in front –
    to seek the next turn or drop or twist

    with hope with hope with faith with love,
    I hope. He is forced into this position,
    yes, I see that, and his shoulders
    will curve again as the earth curves,
    as the turtle’s shell curves, keeping

    him safe for now, but he did love
    the ride, even when it broke
    his wishes his routine his desires
    and flattened him to its will.
    Even then. Especially then.

    a blurred image of a roller coaster

    Tom Turkle, Rollercoaster Photograph courtesy of turkletom

    Contributed By JacobStratman Jacob Stratman

    Jacob Stratman’s poems and essays have been published (or are forthcoming) in numerous magazines and reviews.

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