Wise Poets – Barbara Quick – Falling

Barbara Quick

That hair’s breadth of a moment,
knowing that the body has lurched outside
the mind’s control
and is falling.

The head-first journey of nine feet
powered by a thirty-pound backpack–
seeing not lights, but the hubris
of that one false, resentful step
upwards onto the fallen tree-trunk
blocking the trail–
that one unpracticed vault
up to a place where balance–my balance–
is suddenly gone. Where I am not
my body but an unanchored brick wall
plunging earthward.

The crack of my skull against rock,
hardness to hardness:
I am breakable.
My blood spurting forth
as if to make a painting of me
on the rocks, at the edge of the
cliff, above the river.

My mark, my promise
my realization: This body, as borrowed
as the backpacking gear, as fragile as new love.
These stitches, these bruises,

This uncertainty.

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