It’s in the awkward starting out
That I’m most afraid, but then
The back of my right ankle thunks
Gently against that upper branch

Beyond my head and longest reach,
And I wiggle my way up
Against the resisting bark
Until I hang from the tenderness

At the back of both my knees, rest
A minute, aim, regret the boxer shorts
Of every mother’s summer regimen,
And then swing once, lurch upward

From the back swing and grab that first
Branch above the new enlightening
Pain of my abraded knee backs.
This is the only way to climb

This high in the geometry
Of this monkey puzzling cottonwood,
But now I have the view and all
The time in my morning’s world

And the time to rebuild the world
Below to the giddy standards
Of my gigantic floral growth,
And the horizon and no time

At all to wonder why, or why
I have so barked my naked legs
So fearlessly, to find this perch,
So unsoaring, sub-eagled And then

I look through the peak of the tree
Into the branch-webbed infinity
Of sky and the next possible reach
For my searching hand.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.