"Climber Frozen on a Look Rock Monolith," a poem by David Phillips

Updated: Nov 7, 2020

Climber Frozen on a Look Rock Monolith

Halfway up the rock she stops.

A buzzard glides past.

She curses her winglessness,

right boot wedged,

tendons vibrating, locked.

One hand scratches a convex

stone, and dust

trickles a faint dirge.

The other hand clenches

a root hair. A beetle scrawls

mindless script. Dead blue

envelops the left boot.

No rope sings from above.

No ladder leans from below.

(Drawing by Carlyn Nelson)

David Phillips, Appalachian Zen poet flutist, studied words and music at the University of Tennessee. He produces “Y'All-Ternative” on WUTK-FM, a radio show featuring classic and contemporary Americana music.


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