Embracing my Own Intrepid Spirit

By Varda Branfman
Varda blogs at http://writingforhealing.blogspot.com/

Where I walk
The angels fear to tread

At three a.m.
I’m alone
On East 2nd Avenue
While junkies climb
The fire escapes

I pull all-nighters
When others sleep
Safely in their beds

That’s not
The half of it

I push the limits
Riding stick-shift
For three days and nights
To reach the other coast

I’m a drop-out
From Library Science School

I could have learned
The information
Could have landed the account
For cold lozenges
Could have delivered
Those speeches

I’ve left many promising futures

I’m always leaving
Their harbors of safety
And hearing their invectives
Flung at my back
“You’re a flake”
“You’ll never have money”
“You’ll be sorry,”

And they’re right–
My sorrow does grow
Day by day
And I’m always digging
Myself out
With bare hands

I climb for hours
I walk for miles
And never get there

I’m always missing the last boat
And don’t know when I’ll be lifted
Off my islands

I speak into the microphone
As the regulars drift off to sleep
Over their beers
And the other poets hackle

I empty the pipes before winter
So they don’t freeze and burst
I pay the bills
But don’t leave a forwarding address

Once when I’m driving alone
On an icy road
The wheels start spinning
And I see trees
On the side of the road
racing towards me
I think “Dead”
My whole life sucked
Into that wave of trees

I wait for impact
Wait to pass through those trees
A changed person

But a force in my hands
Not me
Grasps the wheel
And turns against the skid
Which is sure disaster

The car is lifting
Up in the air and landing
Back on course
Without skipping a beat
I’m driving as if nothing happened

I don’t belong
I hear applause from those angels
Assigned to me

I get the feeling
That Someone up there
Loves me

He’s the One
Who makes the redwood forests
And grand canyons
Who never plays it safe
Never sleeps
Or slumbers

If I weren’t so intrepid
And didn’t keep moving
I would still be installed
In place
And easily missed Him
I could have been successful
At doing what they do
And living what they live

I would have never followed Him
Into the desert
Or forfeited a return plane ticket
To stay
Or found my soul mate
By following a slender lead
To a hotel lobby

Or lived in a tiny 3-room apartment
Without central heating
Or had all those beautiful children
On a salary that didn’t exist

I would have never
Crouched on hands and knees
To check the house before Pesach

Or stood guard

waited an hour and
Balanced on a ledge
To see a holy face

Or looked into a goblet of wine
As I hung on
Every word of blessing

If I weren’t so intrepid
I would have never
Followed that trail of crumbs
In the forest

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