I predict, when you’re in second grade,
a wise third-grader will share that it’s true:
“If you step on a crack,
you’ll break your mother’s back.”
She’ll tell you lurid stories about real people,
two different families known by her cousin
in another town, to whom it happened.
And that day, on the half-mile walk from school,
you’ll try to miss them all and fail.
You’ll race the rest of the way home shaken,
afraid of what you’ll find, and learn
what you do,
or fail to do,
will not affect her,
that day no different
Joseph Hardy, a reformed human resource consultant, lives with his wife in Nashville, Tennessee. His first book of poetry, The Only Light Coming In, was published by Bambaz Press Los Angeles, in 2020; a second book of poetry, Becoming Sky, and a picture book, At the Reading of the Will forthcoming early this year.