Nadine St. Louis

in breathless crevices the freeclimber
finds someplace to stand      a crack
to grip in the blank rock face

to us the distant watchers
these small places are invisible
miracles       the climb itself magic

though we cling to our own
holds won hard enough or easy
almost without a thought

we cling to our own young
adventurers onto the pitch
trying to show them from this distance

here a toehold there an overhang
beyond a remarkable alpine meadow
cheering them to the challenge yet

wet eyed to think of them
stepping out where we cannot
follow for like them we must pursue

our own path

Nadine St. Louis was the first Poet Laureate of Eau Claire, Wis. and the author of Zebra, which can be found here. “Freeclimber” is reprinted from Upriver 5, Upriver Press, 1995, with permission of the editor. Learn more about Nadine here.

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