Douglas Carlsen
Free Falling

we used to climb trees, perched, watching the world

soon, it was not enough — then taller trees —
then faster climbs — we would wrestle and fight
to be there before each other — pushing
shoving and yes an occasional sharp
kick against knuckles to loosen a hold
always laughing — screams of absolute joy —
swaying in the utmost branches, and then...

...coming down

there were two trees that stood near each other
approximately seventy feet tall —
old firs— we would climb slowly, conserving
energy then standing aloft as high
as the tree would allow — equal — staring
at each other until the smiles began
and then the laugh and then the shout then down

falling was never quick enough for us.

we would climb down head first,
gravity assisting, muscles pulling,
legs pushing, jumping off branches, forcing
our way down through the weave of limbs and leaves.
landing, arms outstretched above our heads and
dying with that ache — that heart-rending bliss —
we lay stupid, having surely seen god