Crossing the Three-Rope Bridge
written in the tenth year
of my mother's death
Today it stormed. The clouds were flame-base-blue
and smoldered close to the treetops. Lightning
double blinked. Ten years have passed, and not
like that. By dusk the rain had ceased, the birds,
giddy with worm-lust, sang to the softened earth.
I tried to sleep but thought of the bridge at camp:
three ropes above a rushing creek, my turn
to cross, you on the bank wringing your hands.
I walked, heel toe, heel toe—a fish the gleam
on a rock below, its wound a swirl of red.
The world forgave you your attempts, but I
held out. And when my ankle slipped, the whole
sky gasped. You raised your arms as if to heaven.
The birds start up again. It's been forever.
- Chloe Honum (from Memorious)