Cliff Seen In A New Light
A fall flings you forward—not to the side.
You have to work hard to die here,
except where the cliff’s eroded, the path forks
seaward, and the dune grass parts.
If I fell it would be only to rise,
like a mariner, or a bottle,
with a message or without.
I could tumble and roll to a halt at the tide-lip,
could be rescued by the wolfhound with the Biblical name,
nursed back to health by his stunning mistress,
the woman who, intrepid, walks
the cliff’s edge where the path
is narrowest and, down-swerving, crumbles, breaks,
and falling seems easier
as packed dirt gives way to sand and silt.
It’s not a sheer drop. Eventually
a fall would be broken, the body would have to roll,
be nicked and gashed as it crashed against
odd stumps, rocks, roots, branches,
and she would come back,
pacing the tide-lip and the last light,
and the mustard-colored kelp,
wading the shallows in hip boots,
with no one for her to rescue.
Not that the falling will cease.
Or that come high tide
the body will stay in sight
while cliffs whiten in the summer heat.