Here the Ancient Ones farmed the mesa
atop the rim of a meandering canyon,
carved their homes, their silos, their kivas
into the walls of steep sandstone cliffs.
You and I creep closer to the edge of the maw,
daring to see the crumbled ruins below.
Holding hands, sure each will save the other
if the ledge gives way under our weight,
we smile and take another step, and another.
Even your father calls us back: “Enough.”
But you and I know this ledge-walking well:
we’ve danced on edges of our own making,
explored paths of exhilaration
no one else could fathom or forgive,
danced alone, as all addicts dance, even
as our dances devolved to madness.
And then you, a damaged daughter, saved me.
And then I, a mother damned, saved you.
Now, the voice of a park ranger, God-like,
calls us back from the precipice.
Grousing, we stumble back, hide our relief.
We did not really want to see how it ended.
The Poet Laureate of Ridgefield, Connecticut, B. Fulton Jennes serves as poet-in-residence for the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Her poems have or will appear in Anti-Heroin Chic, The Comstock Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Night Heron Barks, Connecticut River Journal, ArtAscent, Tar River Poetry, Stone Canoe, Naugatuck River Journal, Frost Meadow Review, and other publications, and her poem “Lessons of a Cruel Tide” was awarded first place in the Writer’s Digest Annual Competition in the rhyming poetry category. Jennes’s chapbook, Blinded Birds, will be published by Finishing Line Press in the fall of 2021. She is in her (blessed) 13th year of recovery; her daughter, now grateful for six years in recovery, recently completed graduate coursework in Addiction Counseling. There is hope.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.