It’s been a long time. My teeth tug
at the loose skin of my cracking lips.
I strap in to ascend and fall, with visions
of my scab-strong body tumbling, tighten
my harness to uncomfortable.
You set up the belay,
check every aspect of my knots
before you smile me up the wall,
where I pant too hard for this slow climb.
Soon, I reach a gap too big to stretch.
No choice but to leap
and plummet, heavy for a moment with dread
and chalky fingers, which lunge, shred open
on the rock with scraping pain.
As you catch the rope that holds me,
I look down to the cracked baskets
of your strong hands, and, half-willingly,
I descend to you.