She Will Be

Your cry always got to me.
Whether it was the hot stove you touched,
The way you had fallen,
Or because of the F branded on your paper.
But none was louder when you shook,
Teary-eyed and panicked and near-sick,
As I chased the man from the house
Wielding the old cricket bat,
And he disappeared into the darkness,
His pockets heavy and conscience light,
And we didn’t go abroad that year.

Not two birthdays later, I got you those ringside seats,
Daddy’s little treat, and we shared lemonade and popcorn.
Salted, not sweet – as per your request.
You almost had your nose to the ropes,
Your hands could have grasped them,
And once I thought you were going to jump in
As you balled your fists in anticipation.
The bell rang, and the men fought and they fell.
We were so close, you as close as you could get,
And I could smell the leather and blood and sweat.

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