A robin sings a man across a tightrope wire
as three crows try to knock him from the sky.
The cheerleader and the would-be assassins.
Note who’s outnumbered.
When Philippe Petit walked from one twin tower
to the other, onlookers cheered from the sidewalk.
Back and forth he strode—eight times--
before falling into the arms of arresting officers.
Here, too, a nameless crowd--
all eyes and open mouth, no safety net.
It would be nice to think they care
about this daredevil’s fate,
this man who chooses a balancing pole
over the solid grip of a ladder,
but perhaps they just want spectacle,
a shot of adrenaline to make them forget.
And who can blame them?
They have their own demons to dodge,
their own balancing acts to perform
just to make it home at night.
And waiting arms? They should be so lucky.
Certainly no applause.
Margaret DeRitter lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She was a winner of the 2018 Celery City Chapbook Contest, sponsored by Kalamazoo’s Friends of Poetry, and has a full-length poetry collection due out in 2020 from Unsolicited Press. She is the copy editor and poetry editor of Encore, a feature magazine for Southwest Michigan, and a former editor and reporter at the Kalamazoo Gazette. Her poetry has appeared in the 2018 anthology Surprised by Joy (Wising Up Press) and in a number of literary journals, including The 3288 Review, where one of her poems received a Pushcart Prize nomination.
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