This is from my new book CLOUDBREAK that will be available in bookstores by the end of this June. You can pre-order through my Indiegogo Campaign website and I’ll sign and send sooner. Some of the poems in the book, including this one, are about the process of deciding to leave my beloved career as CEO of Planned Parenthood Northern California, after thirty-seven years, to begin my second career as a writer. This partly recalls a moment when I was at an Outward Bound retreat for women executives, high above the forest floor, on a ropes course. We also trekked up a mountain in Colorado and learned how to rock climb.
The Book of Hours
High in trees tall as spires
I stand shivering on a tiny platform,
a kingfisher on a branch
over a rushing waterfall.
In the smell of pine and sweat,
I press backward.
I must risk the fall—leap and grab
with my whole body, my heart.
I stand motionless.
Pine needles prickle my skin.
I can’t be safe without abandoning the tree.
Or, I must climb back down.
Leafing through the book of illuminated vellum,
I find the intricate drawing of this moment.
I turn the page of my trembling hesitation—
light catches golden in my flying hair.