“Approaching Middle Age” and “The Climber”

Approaching Middle Age

Last night the new moon broke open across my shoulders.

Then dawn came through the trees

in pinpoints of varying sizes

like starlight glowing among the leaves.

All week I woke in the darkness but kept my eyes closed,

hoping it was only temporary, but

I could not sleep –

a star was winking at me

from some place colder and farther away

than I will ever be.

The Climber

after the film, Free Solo

For days afterward

weeks – a year

for nights afterward

and sometimes still

I wake to see his body

attached to the cliff, alive

with how easy death could be.

Defiant about the face,

as if wind were a myth, the climber

is what every mother fears

for the child who crawled from her

body and latched onto the

world like some kind of marsupial

or a frog with suction cups

for fingers. Is the fear of

someone else’s death always

about our own mortality?

In the dark, I stay awake

and watch as, periodically, he

dusts his palms with fresh

white powder

and goes higher.

About the Author

Dorothy Neagle

Dorothy Neagle lives and writes in Hastings on Hudson, New York. She has studied writing most recently at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College and at the Unterberg Poetry Center. Her nonfiction has appeared in The Nasiona, Mythos Magazine, and is forthcoming in Minerva Rising and in the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. She is currently revising a memoir and working on a collection of poetry.