Friday, June 29, 2012

Fifth

Fifth

I don't remember the day I came in Fifth.

I was surprised when I found the faded old ribbon
Hidden at the bottom of a wooden Alberta Springs whiskey box
(I had three such boxes begged from my father -
They were perfect for storing bubblegum cards)

The ribbon proved that at least once I wasn't last
Wasn't first
But wasn't last.

How had he done it, the boy I was?
Had he woken with new reserves of stamina and speed?
Had a girl he liked smiled encouragement from the bleachers?
Was he simply sick of finishing last?

He must have been shocked
To find himself nipping at the heels of the medalists
Perhaps he even thought - just for an instant - that he could pull ahead
And hear the cries of disbelief from his friends and tormentors

That moment was too much to ask from an indifferent universe
But Fifth was good enough to keep that gold ribbon
To hoard it for his future self
A talisman to ensure remembrance
Of his brief brilliant moment. 

But I don't remember the day I came in Fifth
And I'm sorry.

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