Michael G. Smith

Ancient Fir, Climbing
by Michael G. Smith

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 ground. You have game
you say, the only matter is repose into harness,

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

an inchworm 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.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 16, Issue 2.

Michael G. SmithMichael G. Smith is a chemist. No Small Things, a book of poetry, will be published in the summer of 2014 (Tres Chicas Press, Santa Fe, NM). Ancient Fir, Climbing, his poem published in this issue of Cider Press Review, was written while he was a writing resident of the Spring Creek Project (Oregon State University) at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest.

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