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Ellen Gray

Second Prize : 2014 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $500

About this Poet:
A poetry class I took at Westmont College in 1987 sparked my love for reading and writing poetry. I live with my husband and two children in Pleasanton, California where I teach debate at the local high school.

This poem appeared one afternoon while I was waiting to pick up my daughter from lacrosse practice. Watching the three middle school boys struggle with their kites reminded me of the sometimes awkward growth of our faith in God.

In the Middle

Wednesday afternoon
the three boys move like a pack
black shoes, black jeans
black hoodies the color of ash
they walk across the chalk
lines on the middle school track
shuffling to the inner field, the tallest one
on legs as spindly as string
the other two slumped forward
carrying beat up kites
one a dragon, the other a bird
maybe for the colors faded a time ago
the tails drag like dull red streamers
left up too long after the party

it is not good weather for kites
the wind acts too old, too impatient
for kids’ games or child’s play

for too many awkward attempts
the dragon jerks up
only to snap down
while the bird splutters
and spins sideways, refusing
to leave the ground

until the tallish boy
with some skill hidden under his hood
and a kind gust from a holy ghost
coaxes the kite to rise from earth toward heaven
like a child of God
lifting the bird to freedom
the pale, red tail flashing with fire from the sun
burning like a phoenix.

Copyright ©2014 Ellen Gray