sun settles, half pink, behind city buildings.
ash-wing, come the clouds. tipped in night, wreathed with coming dreams, wind sifts through branches. down, down, to my waiting face, cool air tangles helmet and words. he turns, helmet in hand.
this, this version i know. i know him best in this world. helmet to chin, i know his face. so many places, so many ways, i do not recognize him. but here, here at the rock, his silhouette, his smile, his face, i know so well. we have done this a hundred hundred times. we will do it a hundred hundred more, before the end of knowing.
we are habitual safety, familiar friendship.
rope is in, loop, loop, out. around, under, over, out. rope whispers through my hands. it has been too long, since we were tangled with gravity, leaning against rock, tasting sky.
i am fingers to rope, hand to side, eyes to sky.
it has been so long since i needed to look while tying my knots. we are both here, lost in an economy of being. small words, short-hand, we telegraph our knowing. he knows the curve of me against the harness.
we check the knots, we check the harnesses.
there are no hugs, no kisses. we never learned the language of scripted romance. we only know this, open air, sky hopes, and rock-faced peace. i fit against his shoulder, we lean together, move in and out of the bag for our gear.
we are figure-eighted to each other, a line of safety runs from me to him, him to me. we are. we are together. i finger the surface, fake rock, impressive texture. feet bared to ground, he forgot our shoes.
we will climb anyway.
‘i remember when i finally figured out how to tie this knot’
he looks up from coiling the rope, a small nod, a smile. i know he’s there.
‘i’m so glad you took over teaching me to climb. i think i would have quit.’
and we’re ready.
he used to lead, he used to climb first. he placed all the first pro, and clipped our ropes to rock. he led, i followed.
today i lead.
i fit myself to rock, fingers chalked with peace. sky calls.
we are still, still, against night’s promise.
we never managed to knit our selves, our bones, our hearts, with the g-d of making and being. we never managed to acquire that worship and study time together, or the proper roles. we slid along the edges, stone and snake for bread. we came, we tried, we listened, we prayed. but g-d never found his way into the us of our togetherness.
i have left g-d, i leave every day.
he has not, and yet we are still the us we have been. a little more solid, a little less afraid, a little more belonging, they all twist up into the rope. from me to him, from he to me, we have braided up the light.
he holds my rope, and i climb.