The Sidewalk Gods

At five, you hop home
dodging cracks and lines,
pondering the dark will
of the sidewalk gods, who in
their infallible omnipotence seem
to have it out for your parent’s spines. Will the one
who contends with the almighty
correct him?
What we cannot fathom,
we must accept.

You falter, fearing
the next step: that fissure
a crocus bud has bloomed through,
as if to give the illusion
of innocence. It calls you.

Before you know it,
you are hovering your small
sneaker over it.

Unbelief and all
its freedom crackle in the space below you.

But consider
the crunching of bones
called down by your weak faith.
Your father’s face
twisted with the pain
of this senseless betrayal.

You swing your sole
back to safety,
that smooth white square,
and tiptoe on home
from smooth patch
to smooth patch.

Christina Lee has published work in Tin House’s “Broadside Thirty,” The Seattle Times, The Toast, Hoot Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Seattle with her husband, and she teaches poetry in Seattle Public Schools through the WITS program. Her books are organized by color.