Ona Gritz


My son works his way
from the far end of the kitchen.
New to walking, his halting
steps, mostly on tip-toe,
resemble my own palsied gait.
Soon, I know, he'll steady
himself, easily outrace me.
But just now, his face, flushed
with effort, seems backlit.
Mama, he chimes, tilting
precariously toward me.
Crouched against the wall,
I brace myself for his weight
and, I admit, savor it, this flicker
of time when he's a little less
perfect, a little more mine.

* * *


A boney dark haired girl
of twelve, I was new enough
at biking to feel wobbly
though I glided down
my own street, shade trees
watching like they always had.
Humming Skyline Pigeon
I flew, then flew into panic
at the speed I'd created
with my pumping feet.
The road narrowed
with parked cars and I
pressed my eyes shut.
Breath held, flowered
banana seat digging
into my tenderest place,
I careened. Yet nothing
happened. No crash, no fall.
No wonder I do it still,
let dumb luck drive.


Ona Gritz is a poet, columnist, and author of two children's books. Her poetry chapbook, Left Standing, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2005. In 2007, she won the Inglis House poetry contest and the Late Blooms Poetry Postcard competition. In 2009, she placed second for Lilith Magazine's Charlotte Newberger Poetry Competition. Gritz's essays have been published in The Utne Reader, More magazine and The Bellingham Review, placing second for the 2008 Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction. Her monthly column on mothering and disability can be found online at Literary Mama . She has received five Pushcart nominations.