a spinning jump rope,
rising and falling, fickle
as the wind.
Holding the end-knot I stretch
tight the rope. A message travels,
like the telephone game.
Straining to hear an answer,
an opening to my prayer,
my palms burn.
In a blizzard, farmers tie rope
between house and barn, a guide-
line to hold when snow-blinded.
Unable to swim, I sink, reach
to cling to the rope my friends
fling in the river.
Once secure in beliefs, they fall
in loose coils to my feet.
I step buoyant.
My breath carries me
where bamboo swishes its song,
braiding itself to the refrain of the wood thrush.