All Are Equal In the Fall

By Stash Hempeck

 

as we each silently steal

forward, stoop

to pick

up our rock, heft

the angular stone up and down

in our hand as though to weigh

its power, as though to find

that perfect balance, as though to search

out the proper side, while we imagine

arc of flight and point of impact, followed

by instant bruise or instant blood, the outcome determined

by our obtuse or acute point-of-view.

 

This is the secret path we choose

to tread, to halt

—if for only one brief moment—

what we know

will surely come to pass.

 

But still we hope

—hope pushing

against hope,

hope piling

upon hope—

that this will be the time one of us finds

courage enough to straighten

up, to firm

our spine, to cast

down that hand-held demon back

onto the darkness from which it came,

and, with the horror of honor, say,

 

No.

 

No more of this.

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