Enter Home Planet News Featured Poet: Linda Lerner                        

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An Old Wives Tale or A Rip Van Winkle Story

This isn't technically a mother goose nursery rhyme, but a superstition that dates back to
about 1905. Many variations, like the following, have been written along this line:

                        Step on a line, break your mother's spine
                        Step on a hole, break your mother's sugar bowl
                        Step on a nail, you'll put your dad in jail

"step on a crack, you'll break your mother's back"
nothing about stepping over it, landing on the other side
stooped over in pain, the weight of seven decades presses down on you;
"step on a line, you'll break your mother's spine"
she's long dead it's your spine, came down
a curved genetic road to find you
after your father left, the man of the house;

cracks formed, the fine line between decisions
stepped over without consequences widened as
you walked the same pedestrian route habit mapped:
easiest distance between  years:  from home to work to the 
same restaurant you and your mother once frequented

a struggle now to stand upright, you fight against
the downward gravitational pull of seventy years;
I do what I can, errands, simple tasks; not enough
the doctor gives you shots; it take away the pain

you go back to who you were
and can never be again

                           Linda Lerner