Copyrighted material, all rights reserved.

This is a printer-friendly page.

Precipice

Lui Collins

Standing on this precipice
again and yet again I check - recheck - the balance of these new attachments to my scapulae

When he first urged me to try them on
the doubts and fears reverberating through my mind
should I not have said "No."
"No - I’ll stay behind -
you go on ahead without me."
Far better to suffocate in this fusty prison
isolated on this isle
than to die a jagged death
dashed on the rocks below.

What made me trust him?
set aside my doubts
set my hopes upon my shoulders where I feel their featherweight yet balanced
as I delay the moment of departure?

He spoke of the passing to safety
of the freedom of flight
the rising up in the pockets
the glory of drifting on the wind
the riffling of the feathers
the warmth of sun upon brow

And I was seduced by his words
drawn in to imagine that I might be lifted by the currents
to cross the waters to new ground
drawn in to believe that I might
have the strength to survive the journey
the stamina to endure the travails
the courage to conquer my fears.

And even now as I quiver on the verge
the thought thrusts itself into my mind
I will bleat "NO"
"No - leave me here
I cannot trust the nothingness!"
And holding that thought tightly for but a moment
I leap -
into the abyss.

Sequel to the Precipice: Well, I leapt, but I did not fly

Well, I leapt, but I did not fly
nor was I dashed to pieces
on the rocks below
In fact, I held my own
for a good few yards
before - I lost my courage
and my strength
Drifting low
I caught a wingtip on a sudden swell
It spun me
head over heels
wings flapping hysterically
before finally I plunged into the waters

And here I roil and churn
run before the tide
And though my feathers are sodden
and my hopes are dim
I am still alive
And whether I will drown
or whether I will be saved
it is not yet mine to know
but of one thing I am most resolved
I shall not easily succumb
And although it was not my first intent
it is nonetheless a more familiar medium
and I shall swim with all my might.

September 13, 1996
and October 11, 1996
©1996 Lui Collins