Indoor Climbing

This is a piece I wrote several years ago. The exercise was to write down all the vocabulary  you could think of for a particular activity (in this case, rock climbing) and then to write about something completely unrelated using as much of the vocabulary as possible. I found it to be a helpful way to approach a subject from a new angle. Enjoy!

Indoor Climbing

Stripped of karabiner and harness, I am pinned
against a chimney. Your hasty
approach shoves
me into a fissure full
of gravity that extends
to the horizon. I am
horizontal. You free climb, I scramble–
desperate against
the fall factor as you belay
yourself into a crevice widened
by the spread of thighs-
an airless
abyss. No time
to acclimate. You jam
a fallacious pendulum
of peril, no longer
malleable, into the fissure.
Vertigo.
Paroxysms.
Your quickdraw release, a meager
zenith, a zipper fall.
One slope declines, one climber strives,
straining to regain
the balance. Now, lowering yourself to
bivy by my ear, you smear
the detritus
on the chalk bag
at your waist- pumped.
Slack.

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