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“Rappel”

Thirty-plus feet
Is
a
long
way
up.

Adrenaline surges:
fingers fumble,
palms sweat,
knees shake.

Breath quickens
and heart races.

The air is hot and dusty,
and the tang of old sweat and metal
is heavy in your nose. Your helmet slips
against your brow.

But there’s a reassuring tug
against your climbing harness,
the belayer yelling encouragement,
and you smile across the platforms
to your friend the next one over.

Then you grip the gritty rope,
breathe in deep,
inch towards the edge

and
leap.

-AMMCJ

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