We sat talking in a cafe in Juneau,
Alaska. The windows were dark with rain,
black sky in the middle of the afternoon.
You told me a story: a woman
stumbles and falls into an abyss. She
hangs, desperately clinging to a tree
rooted in the cliffside. God! she cries,
Help me! I'll help you, God says,
Let go. You laughed and finished your beer.
We left together. Later, we fell apart,
as friends will do; months I wouldn't hear
from you. You left out the part
about the ledge, the ledge she couldn't see,
carpeted with shrubs, just beneath her feet.
For an audio post of this poem, go here.
[revised 25 January 02005]