Not knowing how, I found myself
hanging from the end of the earth. Taking it
for a dream, I tried to let go and wait
for the impact to wake me
or the harder thud of eternity. But
the sweat on my fingertips and
cold in my toes told me this was real. So
I started to pull myself first with my fingers,
the edges as sharp as sea stones,
my sweat making them as wet. Then
with my arms and then my elbows,
I was a gecko on a window pane,
I was a self-help guru and my own audience
and the end of the earth was not the end of the earth
but merely a metaphor for that which I needed
to overcome, which just happened to be
clinging from the end of the earth. Soon
the vultures came. I kicked at them
with my free legs. The last thing I needed
was the EPA nabbing me for poaching
endangered species. I kicked one shoe loose
hoping to distract them. But being scavengers they
were little interested in my ruse.
The shoe’s probably still falling now.
The metaphor was becoming wetter
and slipperier and the wind was doing its bit.
I thought I’d reached the top when pieces
of the metaphor came apart in my hand and I slipped,
slicing my arm open on it. Now I was a gecko
trapped between the glass. A has-been
motivational coach. A tired and used up
expression. And there were still the vultures.
They seemed pretty sure. Some of them
had even set up power lines to sit on and
hiss at every attempt to climb up. To cheer
when I slipped. They must’ve been
hungry because they started throwing bones.
Two of them then even circled close, brushing
me with their wings. Forgetting myself
I laughed and slipped. The rest applauded,
and it sounded like rugs and brooms.
My shoeless foot found a nice little hole,
though I wasn’t sure if the rock was
a rock again. Before I could decide
I pushed myself until I felt
the first blades of grass between my fingers.
The vultures turned away and each gave me the feather.
I still have one and
the shoe’s probably still falling.