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Bravery

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A rung’s
come broken in the
ladder to the mow

and so one hesitates
to clamber up there
just to bomb a cow
with dung or bother
swallows from their
rafter cakes. It takes
a new footing some-
where in the ribs’
treads, about heart-
height, to climb it
now. A new gap’s in
the smile that smiles
from the limed barn
floor. There seems
to come a break in
the war. But soon, one
of a neighbor’s sons,
too young to know
it was otherwise once,
braves it, and soon,
even with a sweater-
swaddled kitten or a
BB gun, all the kids
can do it again, nearly
at a run, like pros, and
so it goes, as before.

Source: Poetry (November 2013)

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

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Bravery

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