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Climbing without ropes

Climbing Giant Mountain, on a clear August day, I saved your life on impulse. I reached out and caught your belt As you slid down the rockface past me. You seemed to be on your way to join Your wife resting in the conifer scrub Five hundred feet down. Until that moment, we had been the most diffident of friends. But as we hung there, caught like insects on the Updraft of a sudden, shared desire -- Unsteadily suspended between the Mountain's gravity and the clarity of A cloudless summer sky -- Life together seemed ineffably sweet. Miraculously I found friction in the rock Where there was only stone smooth as glass, Enough traction to save us both. Years later, I cannot think of that diagonal ascent Without the evocation of that moment's Sweet salvation, without a memory Of the blueness of that August sky.

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