Backyard High Wire Act – a poem by Linda Vigen Phillips

Backyard High Wire Act
 
Ringling Brothers flying trapeze,
Circe de Soleil,
a granddaughter showing off gymnastic feats—
all rhythms of life captured between held breaths.
 
A performance this morning
outside my kitchen window
gave me pause: 
bare, slender branches,
black, spindly outlines backed by
December dawn light
immersed in blue violet.
 
First one squirrel
racing with abandon
up the tallest maple, past the nest
distinguishable in silhouette
against the burgeoning sky, and soon
another close behind, and a third
following the leader in agile leaps
from fragile limb to limb, death-defying
connections mysteriously maneuvered
in spite of bobbing, bushy-tail weight.
 
Once on a tour a guard shouted "silencio"
nudging us on like cattle 
in the overcrowded Sistine Chapel
where I craned my neck
hungry to see a spark, 
to imagine the electric air
Michelangelo left there
between God's finger and Adam's.  
 
Now, as the day quickens and long after
the squirrels disperse, 
gossamer limbs dance in the breeze,
maple twigs reach to oak
and somewhere, a sacred
synaptic transaction. 
 

Linda Vigen Phillips‘ poems have appeared in The Texas Review, The California Quarterly, NC Poetry Society Award Winning Poems 2001, Wellspring, Main Street Rag, Independence Boulevard, and Windhover.  She has two published YA novels in verse, Crazy and Behind These Hands. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband.   

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