Grapevines shore up the tottering fence,
The way a vast strangler fig upholds
Ta Prohm Temple at Angor Wat.
Time assembles the union
Of the long-married. How limbs
And thoughts and habits entangle
Until one is lost and the other
Sags. Where the vines are shorn,
The pickets topple. Stricken
As the body that remains.
Ambition aches in the rank cave
Of bear scut and bones of lost explorers.
Here’s where the staves of heroes
Fall. The lust for audacity,
To be remembered, the sorrowful
Mystery. Climb into the gondola
That swings over the chasm.
Above the timberline, snow
Endures in swatches despite
An assault of wildflowers.
What is there, if not desire,
If not memory. Why live
Insensible as cement.
Inflamed with reason
The heart enlarges.
Such fluids will drown a body
That fails to resist love. This
Journey must be undertaken.
Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature.