TIGHTROPE

TIGHT ROPE

My ancestors did this, so I can.

I’ve practiced for this all my life—

to be suspended between cliff edges

above a chasm filled with rapids and rocks.

Without a net.

I’ve done the high wire a zillion times. 

It makes no difference

whether there’s a chasm or a sawdust floor. 

The far edge is in sight.

Breathe. 

My thin-slippered feet

move along the cable.

Cloud shadows, a bird shadow.

One foot in front of the other.

Eyes ahead, toward the edge—

where someone is bending

picking at the cable with a little knife

and no one is there to stop him.

Will it hold? Will it hold?

I can not take time to be afraid.

My ancestors did this, so I can.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

One step, one step, one step

ADVENT, 13

ADVENT

13.

      ~John 8

 

It must have been fear—

that most compelling feeling—

that attached them

to your Jesus. Why else

would anyone follow

a fellow who goes on

and on about above

and below, about

himself and his distant

father? And worse—O

worse!—a fellow who sees

people (like the woman

caught in the act) 

as opportunities 

for tedious theologizing.

You scared them, 

John Gospeller.

They believed they’d be

condemned without

your esoteric creed.

It must have been fear.

Likely, it still is.

WARNING

WARNING

Dear ones,

Beware of the tiny gods frightened men

Create

          ~Hafiz, “Tiny Gods”

Beware of tiny gods,

so easily displeased

when humans break

the rules. The ones 

who are obsessed

with doom, allow 

no room for breath 

or ease. The tiny gods

who make the fear 

of life and death, 

who mistrust peace,

who are themselves,

and made by, fools.

2016 April Prompt #1

WRITE WHAT YOU’VE FORGOTTEN

IF YOU CAN REMEMBER IT

Kari’s #4

 

I have forgotten how to sleep. Or

haven’t I? Don’t I remember nights

of childhood fears, the robber

climbing through my window,

my parents’ sudden death,

the terrible sound of thunder?

Can’t I remember nights

in my youth, staring

at the moonlit flowers on my ceiling,

wondering if I’d ever be loved?

Maybe I’ve forgotten

the crying baby,

the toddler with the earache.

I expect I have forgotten

lying awake listening

to fighter planes roaring

through cold war exercises,

wondering if my husband knew

he was right above our bed.