10-Line Tuesday

January 18, 2010

the climbing gym

The mats below the wall are three inches thick, at least.
I could fall if I had to and nothing would break. Still, I dig fingertips
into the handholds, trying to fight gravity. I'm at my freest
letting go, but surrender is never casual. My heart flops and slips
each time, bruised and shaken. Even here, with such ample cushioning below,
I resist the drop. And it takes everything as each tendon and muscle strains,
the skin of my hands rubbing raw, the ascension slow
and shaky, my toes at the slimmest ledges, and blood hammering my veins.
This is what is being asked: move up or come down.
There’s no reward for simply hanging on.