Letter to Céleste

If growing up was like a ladder
that you had to keep on climbing
for ever and ever
then you would be scared to fall
even once
and maybe that fear
would keep you frozen
and you’d never go anywhere
at all.

But life’s not a ladder
it’s more like a dive
into a cold pool
there’s still a fear of falling
but it’s swirled together
with anticipation and delight
like the bitter and the sweet
in a square of chocolate.

And the first time you are falling,
but again and you taste it:
freedom in flight.
You can twist your body
into some exquisite silliness
let loose a shriek–
you are flying toward
the water’s enveloping embrace.
A momentary glimpse of transcendence
that can be relived
just as soon as you pull yourself
dripping wet
up over the edge
skin your knee in the rush
run back through the hot sun
–who said anything
about being scared
to fling yourself
into gravity’s arc–

It’s so much better
when you’re jumping into it
isn’t it?

So much better than tumbling
frozen in fear
from way up high
on a make-believe ladder
that leads
to nowhere.

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