Before Thinking

It was such a pitiful cry
like something animal, 
a mewling.
We did not know
at first.
Then we ran, 
our hearts knowing,
our legs moving
before thinking.

Twisted and frightened
you lay crumpled.
Like a pile of laundry
left outside in the rain,
grass-stained and sodden-wet,
all of a boy in a fearful jumble,
hard to piece together.

We gathered you up
and carried you in.
We iced your bruises,
and fed you chocolate.
All tenderness and efficiency,
we felt carefully
for breakages.

Today you fell too far from the tree,
but tomorrow you will climb again.
We will hold our breath
and try not to be watchful
for tomorrow you will climb again.