FAILING

Failing was never an option

In the home where I grew up.

It was always a given

that we would win

the ribbon

or first place

in a race

or a spelling bee,

that our report cards

would be all As and Bs

With sterling accolades

from our teachers

We would run harder,

Skate faster,

Climb higher,

Sing louder,

Outdo everyone else

With whom we competed.

There was never a word

of praise from our parents;

Perhaps a grunt from my father

as he signed report cards;

The ribbons or badges or certificates of merit

were stashed in our chests of drawers

under the socks and underwear,

To perhaps admire occasionally,

For we all knew

Failing was not an option.

 

Sandra Lee Smith

January, 2009

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