Rock Climbing

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page

Rock Climbing

by Su Shafer

Not looking down is easier

            when you’re struggling up.

The focus is ALL up

            the next up

                        finger hold – up

                                    foot hold – up

                                                carabiner solid – secure up.

The hands know how to find the hammer without looking.

Down is not in the picture.

Up is in careful, methodical inches

            step by step

                        hold by hold

                                    the goal is ahead

                                                edging closer and closer.

It’s only when you get to the top

                        that you realize how far down is

                        to get home.

The dizzy certainty is that

                        is imminent

                                    and permanent.


                        Is trying to control the Law of Gravity

                        with sweaty hands and

                                    and a heart mde of lead, thumping hard

                                                like a cannonball to your balance.

Realizing the top is only one long “oh shit!” moment of aloneness


                        because only Death’s hand

                       will catch you

                                   if you make a mistake

                                               and fall.

Su Shafer is a creative crafter, fabricating bits of writing in poetry and short stories, and other bits into characters that appear in paintings or sit on various bookshelves and coffee tables.

She lives in a cottage on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, where the tea kettle is always whistling and the biscuits freshly baked. One never knows who might stop by to share a rainy afternoon. And all are welcome.

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