Fear of Heights

By Robert S. King. Posted in Issue Three and Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

Face down on my stomach,
the cat in me can’t help but stare over the ledge,
my head a boulder hanging over,
sticking my neck out like a rope.

My fingers dangle over an edge of brittle ground,
the place where consequences balance,
where I might withdraw to solid ground,
where I might slip upside down,
and the coins spill from my pockets
in a free‐fall, sunlit, spinning ballet
to the whitewater fountain far below.

Reason is gone; the breaking point straddles
footprints and the deep descent to the river.
Courage too has no hand in this push and pull.
Only curiosity and fear tug at the brink.

I could hold my head up and turn back home,
or drop it and tip into dive.
It would take a long time down
to dying. I would have eternity
to change my mind.

● ● ●

Robert S. King lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia. His poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Southern Poetry Review, Lullwater Review, Midwest Quarterly, Chariton Review, Main Street Rag,and many others. He has published three chapbooks (When Stars Fall Down as Snow, Garland Press 1976; Dream of the Electric Eel, Wolfsong Publications 1982; and The Traveller’s Tale, Whistle Press 1998). His full‐length collections are The Hunted River and The Gravedigger’s Roots, both from Shared Roads Press, 2009. He is director of back to top]

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