Stepping on Cracks

crack in pavement

As a child, I carefully measured my sidewalk steps, making sure to avoid the cracks,

Knowing inwardly that the cracks were there to test me,

And that a single misstep would break my mother’s back, or worse.

I focused so closely on each crack that I lost track of the world around me.

As a child, I knew nothing of concrete cohesion or molecular expansion, the very reasons the cracks were set down in the first place.

Now, when I walk or run or skip or dance, I don’t notice the cracks,

For who would choose to stare at the sidewalk while missing trees and sun and birdsong, love and laughter, lungs full to bursting then empty of breath?

And despite all my worry of years gone by, my mother’s back is fine, and I realize I had little to do with it.