She licked her lips, eyes closed
as the tower of beanbags toppled.
But this time she tried again,
smushing and stacking, one by one.
She could do it, she knew.
Even though a crowd was watching
her worst nightmare—failure—playing out
in front of dozens of people,
she ignored her instinct to run
into my arms or lash out.
She finally topped off the tower.
Her cheeks reddened as everyone applauded.
A circus trick her teacher showcased—
something she taught him, he said.
In return, he offered a glimpse
of who our girl will become.