Friday, 30 December 2016


by Kathy Conde

I hold back, feel the pull
of gravity through my boot.
Mac says it will be easy
scaling the vertical
rock face full of cracks
and quarter-inch ledges.
I climb and granite
turns to flat gray.
Handholds visible from below
vanish at a certain height.
Everything is gone—
summer grass, Mac's red car
gleaming from the road,
green silhouette of tamarack
against blue sky, screech
of a redtail hawk. All gone—
even the wind that blew
dust across the road
when I took my first
look at the wall.
All that is left
is rock, my body pressed
against it like a lover,
the pull of gravity

* * * * *

"Climbing After a Fall" first appeared in the anthology, New Poets of the American West. 

Kathy Conde won the Crab Orchard Review Jack Dyer Fiction Prize 2014. She has also won prizes and scholarships from Salem International Literary Awards, Munster’s Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition, and the Aspen Writers' Foundation. Her stories have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, CutThroat: A Journal of the Arts, Southword, Underground VoicesWord Riot, and others. She lives in Colorado with her husband and son. You can see more of her work at

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