Written By: Will Cordeiro
Tramping slick fresh footsteps by lips
of sheer deep drops, after slipping out
from overtime past a last underpass & off-
ramp, lifted up a rifted cliff-face I’ve come
to, limping near the blunder of graffiti-riffs
& palimpsests (rain-stained, pal; piss tested)
of tags spawned by the broke or broken
-hearted who’ve sprayed these recursive
curses on a squared-off scumble of shale.
Without belay, hands take a frayed, make-
shift flapping tackle-block someone’s hung
about. Give myself slack to learn the ropes;
without chalking up, sidle down
margins of bolus to a bellied tip
of overspill into a trash-scored
ditch: scraps, canker, quondom
tires, blops of plastic, condom
boxes: weathered gloss of loess,
& ruckus over the fallout’s rockfall:
I lope, outleap the overlapping jags,
skirting discard, driftwood. Crushed
Pabst & Schlitz cans can be hurtled
down its mouth, a hobo-huddle,
some bum cave the RRs blasted:
groping underhanded handholds, tumbled timber
rims & notches, cracked crotches, crusty crutches,
lopped outcrop & brambles, limp fire-damaged
stumps, lumps, leaf-gunk, & junk I stumble over.
I’m stunned beside a vast, evaporating prism:
a whole waterfall that dissipates in risen spray.
Will Cordeiro received his MFA and Ph.D. from Cornell University. His work appears in Copper Nickel, Cortland Review, Crab Orchard Review, Drunken Boat, Fourteen Hills, Harpur Palate, Phoebe, and elsewhere. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he is a faculty member in the Honors Program at Northern Arizona University.