Bouldering

I’m merging with the wall;
I’m ivy-climbing up the stone,
And every pull is one more push; a groan
Of fissure-falls, the backward skies, the tooth-strained calls
That cry back “next time, next time, one more try!”
If bones are whole and joints are spry,
I’ll face off with the problem-stone;
Its face will be my own.

However, hours hence,
I’ve fallen down, since up an inch
From where I was, there is a finger pinch
That makes me flinch; a move I haven’t managed since
The flatrock flayed my fraying fingertips
From every time I’ve tried to grip—
My joints and bones are both still whole,
But health is not my goal.

I’m waking up to walls
Of sterile, flat, and smoothed with white;
They say that I have been there for the night,
Alright, but downright lucky for the speedy call
By hikers—those who heard my painful cry—
Yet thanking these kind passerby’s,
I have to ask, as far as they could tell,
Was it a victory yell?

~Michael Danger Caskey

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