At the Pole Vault Pits

I think of it as a twang, an aerial snapped
back and forth like a crazed metronome.
But it’s more like the jolt of a one-car crash
as if you were barreling down a side street
braced for the whine of a metallic pirouette.
It’s a moment caged by absolution, pole-vaulter,
your moment with the wind, your moment to hit
the gas and run at the bar, fiberglass pole bending
until the strain explodes under your feet,
your eyesight becoming blued and broken
and all the sands and hesitations you’ve tracked
onto the runway are scraped up with your belief in gravity.

A ramp bottom catches the pole
and I miss the shock to your hands,
the loud thunk of sudden stoppage.
The pole doesn’t quiver or catapult,
doesn’t wobble or ring; it simply pulls you,
and then falls away from your trailing hand,
softly rat-a-tat-tatting on the ground.
The just-for-you creak of bending fiberglass
seems yards back, a part of a past life
where you were separate from the sky.
You sense a new height added to your name,
but all you really know is the air rushing past you.



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