On the Blade of a Day

Man stares at his reflection
in his morning coffee
balances on the edge
of a sugarless death

hides behind a shy day
the wine mark of his birth
the spilled wine
of his life

fears demons swinging
on the trapeze
in his brain, sizzling
on the high wires

How is it then, he gathers
the tatters of his life
about him everyday
steps out into the morning

postures and puffs
with pebbles in his shoes
feathers in his mouth
knowing he must

build a pyramid, cut down
a casaba, bandage a friend
clear the land
launch a rocket into space

send a child to school
sing the only song he knows
knowing he must not
die today

Carolyn Campbell is a poet, teacher and artist living and working in Evergreen, Colorado. She is the author of the historical novel, Fireweed, A Woman’s Saga in Gold Rush America, which has won two national awards and was a finalist for the Willa Literary Award.