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Teen Risk

Once in the Chimney on Katahdin,
leading on a novice rope
with no protection, I
pulled back over ninety
vertical feet of air and,
searching for cracks in the rock,
reached up for a prayer.

Back home late we learn
Dad’s taken the bus to his
graveyard shift.

On the mountain that time, you
roped and ready to follow,
me flirting with tombstones,
a hand hold
was there.



At water level your face approach
appears then vanishes behind sea swells.
Bonefish undulate over spawning sand spots.
Their dorsal fins gyrate, twitch
and flutter in air, as an erratic sail
snaps on an unmanned sloop in a squall.

You burst out and splash on the beach —
cymbals, snares, off-key tympani, drum rolls
pound out on the sand.


Parker Towle has published 3 chapbooks, an anthology of unpublished poems of others, 197 poems in magazines, and in 2007 a full-length collection entitled This Weather is No Womb, from Antrim House Books.  He is an Associate editor at The Worcester Review.