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


but it never comes    and somehow

when I pull some final edge        the tangible end to it all

she, 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 inception

for fear to have gambled    and come out even

for what has it done but peel 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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