A Tangible End to Fear: Climbing


A Tangible End to Fear: Climbing
by Sara Aranda

Fingers break granite lines.
Enter flesh    bone locks.
Rotate my mind    mind my fear—
it’s all the same body        versus body.

But it is there        and only there
that I am opened up        finally
to a place inside my head
where fear becomes the skin
across my knuckles        the burning
of my arms        edge of toe inside rubber shoes,
some heartbeat unfurling faster
than breath can swallow.

It becomes the sunlight staring too deeply
into my eyes, or the sounds
of metal weight on my hips
these man-made conceptions of risk
the taste of rope
the shadows of grazing clouds
the distance
between me and my last protection—

I string hundreds of feet of moments
feel a part of the mountain but able
to close my eyes    follow through
with the mechanics of limbs,
non-mechanical panic
loud, spinning hysteria
across wide depth to find
a moment of indifference

it never comes    and somehow
when I pull some final edge        the tangible end to it all
the mountain is nothing but silent still…

But it is this final waking
like a butterfly breaking free of its chrysalis
or a seed having made its way from the pine cone,
the next step to some transformation,
a spiritual evolution        new body
for fear to have gambled    and come out even
for what has it done but echo me,
speak of edges and how
edges are never simple
that breath is never lonely
that fear is more than a game
and this sport of climbing is more than placement
of body and metal things

it is strange posture,
a transient passing of bodies
and their orbits    a beautiful, uneven structure
of all the backlit logic and sanity
of the mind, and a mountain laced
with hungry




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