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The Start of 4th Grade

Jean Cassidy  August, 2022

Early that summer, the doctor told my mom she was done

with polio, despite a left leg she couldn’t count on and a

left arm that lay listless in her lap. Two weeks before school,

I broke my collarbone falling off my best friend’s bike.

My right arm immutable in a scratchy too-tight sling,

I grumbled and complained to whomever would listen.

Mom drove me to school for weeks to save my feelings

and to protect my shoulder. I arrived at my classroom

in an oversized blouse with one empty sleeve

to accommodate the bulk of the sling. In order to drive,

mom adapted the driver’s seat with cushions so

she could sit up close to reach the pedals.

To get into the car, she would sit on the edge

of the seat, then swing her legs around front using

the steering wheel for leverage. She’d reach

across her body and lift her left arm onto her lap.

Getting into the passenger seat, I would mimic her

and sit on the edge of the seat, swing my feet around,

then reach across to shut the door. She’d look at me,

wink, and then say, “Are we ready, Kiddo?”

Late summers now, as carloads of kids and moms

go on their way, I picture those days  being toted,

protected, loved. Because of her I would answer,

“Yep Mom, I’m ready”, and I felt very brave.


LifeLines icon created by Ellen Schon

Jean Cassidy  August, 2022

wnc poetry, wnc writer, wnc writing, women writers, WOMENS LIVES

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