The Climber on the Bells
Carol Alexander

The Climber on the Bells

Tap the mudstone cliffs, their banded bones.
Tongue a drift starry as the valley’s columbine.
Spidering down to five thousand feet, see
how a beaver slaps the river’s skin in wild applause,
its structure a seeming error or mischance,
a child’s bedaubed mud castle, detritus of the storm.
Or a Calder mobile, the precarious off-centering
a vertiginous flight plan. Jetsam swirls downstream,
current so quick and hungry, a pitiless blue.
There’s the irritable plash where a bird’s egg lands,
the tourney of open jaws: a fox gullets it down.
Everywhere, the continuum of industry is hit or miss
the way a frowsty nest may judder in the wind,
the way the rope inflicts a sinister burn.
When the body on a slipshod ledge suspends
a stellar instant, kicks out blind, and falls.

Carol Alexander

is the author of Environments (Dos Madres Press, 2018), Habitat Lost (Cave Moon Press, 2017), and the chapbook Bridal Veil Falls (Flutter Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in many anthologies and journals. A writer and editor in the field of educational publishing, Alexander is also the author of books for young readers.