The girl who passes out in victory

*For Kayla Montgomery and her strength

“My legs where’d they go? Please help me.
Please help me find my legs”
With a scowl on her sweat exhausted self,
She pleads for salvation, begs incoherently.

She is lean and fast like an ostrich, hopeful
of a win in the form of just completing the race.
That sun-stinging afternoon doesn’t faze her
and neither does MS, until she stops moving.

Her ringlet locks thrash as she runs, 5000 meters.
The swing of her arms set her pace, not her legs.
Wiry and numb, her legs take her to the end
and no further. The cost of competition.

She lies limp on the pale chartreuse grass
while her body is cooled with ice water sponges.
Tasting every hot salt stinging bead of disorientation
for 10 minutes, until the repeated chants are realized.

A top a podium of success and struggle, her arms,
Still shaky from exhaust, are raised in exalt of her
Accomplishment and triumph over herself.
“Kayla you won.” 

--Juan C., Adult