Pushing Boundaries / Breaking Barriers

Kyler Street Overpass

by Michelle Perez

 
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You walked on top of the thin rail, two policemen
following, tiptoeing their car along. The high
way sped 20 feet below.

Your breath was concentrated on a steady goal,
your arms spanned wide like sun-soaked outrigger
spars of a shrimping boat.

At midpoint, the breeze settled. With back straight,
worn sneakers hugging the slim steel plank,
you proceeded to cross ...

No, it wasn’t water you marched over but fast-moving,
multiple dangers: the flicker of windshields, a glint
of horns as morning streamlined beneath you.

And I bet I must have placed one prayer in front of
the other, heel-to-toe, toe-to-heel, trolling a foot-width
of pavement behind me.

The cops, too, hanging their elbows out the patrol car
window, edging the curb, afraid not to look, waiting
to take two truant kids home to a parent.

They would scold us both as soon as you hopped off,
brushed the smugness from your knees, safe
after landing on that soft berm of dirt.

But I give us credit for what we didn’t do, brother,
how we harnessed tension and the urge to lunge,
for remaining on the ground anchored in hope

While you knew all along where you wanted to go
and took the rest of us, dangling—unwilling partners
in that vicarious passage

As you undid the ordinary … released slow trappings
of our common ground, with each step forward
leaving fate unhooked.

end of story

© 2017, Michelle Perez Go to top ^
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