Walking the High Wire

for William Stafford

Words balanced
like small weights
tied to the ends
of a seasoned pole

you step out
firm of foot
straight to the point
where your thought
stands waiting

Words carry you there
and back
words I cup hands
to catch
like snowflakes
framed in lines
of heart and mind
running to the sea

Long after lights dim
and curtains draw
across the quiet stage
your gentle voice
trails faint echoes
your measured steps
fade in the wings
your words cascade
through canyons of mind

[First published in Calapooya Collage. Anthologized in Stafford's Road]