Published in Modern Literature

Carabinered to a braided rope and dangling
ten feet off the ground, things change,

like suddenly there are too many questions
about the physics of friction versus gravity,

but the shy, awkward boy zips through space,
waves from above the first fan branch eighty

feet higher than the ground. You have game
you say, the only matter is repose to harness,

lift the ascenders, push against the stirrups
body bent, extending, bent againagainagain,

an inch worm climbing. You pray to the physics
of friction, you pray to the molecular bonds,

of rope. Twenty sweaty minutes later
you touch fan branch’s built soil, rub lichen,

lobelia and fern, then find yourself shaking
laughing man’s soft hand on this wispy

April day, wind and rain sweeping in.

Michael G. Smith  is a very-early retired chemist whose poems are forthcoming or have been published in many literary journals. He has published three poetry books, No Small Things, The Dark is Different in Reverse, and The Dippers Do Their Part, co-authored with Laura Young from their residency at the Spring Creek Project’s Shotpouch Cabin. He conducts workshops on the intersections of poetry, science, mathematics and Nature, and lives in Santa Fe, NM.