• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 05

Still Life at the Rock Climbing Gym

Set just for us,
The wall waits.
Many things to grasp,
Many things to make our own as we hold them.
Front-lit by the gym lights, the wall is strangely bright
And all else fades into shadow
As we fix our eyes on the climb.
To start, a yellow sloper
And a jug; our hands clench
Reflexively as we envision their texture
On our palms.
Next, a clump of textured grapes,
Requiring a dynamic move to the right
And a precise grab to avoid slipping. There
Is little to stand on, but two long pinches
Are there if we can squeeze ourselves by.
Finally, a series of hand-sized slopers lead
To the finishing hold:
Technical, tricky, and dusted with a waterfall of chalk –
easy to spill off of
If we’re not paying attention.
But oh, to close our hands around that lovely, jutting
Chalice of a hold at the end.

We move our arms in strange, curled gestures,
Aping the moves we need to make
While the wall waits.