Missoula Catalyst

for Smile Like the Sun
You balance tip toe
       On a narrow shelf
Tucked behind the waterfall
       Soft glare of amber eyes
Ridge of shoulders strong
       Taste of salted water spray
Across your forehead, lips
       What I would give

Preparing to pierce
       The cascade, you linger
Calculate velocity
       Anticipate the angle of slice
Exact degree of tilt
       The sound of water-rush
Opaque, blinding
       Fingers strum the mist
To no avail, you are
       Lost in lightlessness
20 meters skyward
       Poised on a veranda
Set into the steep rockface

You must choose at random
       With hurried recklessness
One stark moment to
        Release your fear and
Fall blind of your bearings
       Into the gleam
Of turquoise below

To get to this spot
       Where you are now
You have devised an
       Entire choreography
To avoid cutting your thigh
       On the sharp sleeve and
Joint of rocks
       Held together by
Force of water centuries-run
       To flatten and caress corners
That jut like knives
       In time
Evolution’s persistent torrent
       Will make this jagged hook
So exquisitely smooth
       Not even a woman’s
Silken shoulder
       Will compare to the
Upward sanded sweep

You bite your bottom lip
       Cut it with your teeth
A final deliberation
       Before you muster a
Moment free of fear
       When calculations cease
Arms stretch wide
       Palms up
To gather light azure

Body taut, hollow
       Resonate like a lute,
You tip forward
       Into the rushing sheet of
Cool river milk
       Sheen vapor glazing skin
Dappled now with
       Sunset hues
Smile glamorous
       As a movie star’s

After all that nervous lingering
       Blind and tip toe
On the wet stone ledge,
       This drench of surrender
You ride with spontaneous ease
       A silhouette of cloud-fire
About to hit the eddy going 60

Between then and now
This lofting shiver
       Becomes you,
Smile Like the Sun;
       Lips speaking silent words
Taken by the wind
       Unwrote poems drowned
Unknowingly in the place of nevers
       What I would give
To find those words and
       Write them on your arms
Shoulders, hair long
       Sonnets on skin

You will never be more free
       Than you are now
In this moment
       Tremulous, determined
Taste of salted water spray
       On your tongue, lips

What I would give
       What I would give
What I would give

(c) 2013