having just replaced the brake pads on my bicycle’s mechanical disc brakes, i now needn’t apply as much pressure when i want to slow down

a teenager
on a boat
in an Alaskan bay,
i used a cell phone
to call home
once a week.
terrified,
terrified i gripped
the phone,
convinced it would
slip from my hand.
my voice garbled
as it was lost
to the sea.

on a flat roof
in northern Vermont,
along a long lake
with hazy views
of New York’s
Upstate mountains,
i placed feet
on new shingles,
black as the night
sky. the night sky,
above me, black
and glittering
with stars, like shingles.
terrified,
terrified by the pull
of roof’s edge.
pulling me, asking me
to be thrown.

on a bridge,
again in Alaska,
though not that
teenaged bay,
a camera
in my hands,
boats slipping quietly
below. terrified,
terrified to take
photos, to take
into my hands,
to climb rail,
to let go.

calendula and
arnica, devil’s
club and
chamomile.
infused
into olive oil,
thickened
with bee’s
wax. take
your hands and
dip them in.
the moon
above you
is silent and
deceiving.
the sun,
impatient,
does not fail
in its reach.
it reaches you.
your hands,
dip them in.
let them
soften.

Published by Zak

an intertidal island in an ocean of impermanence.

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