At the Cliff House

                     (San Francisco)

Hedge grass, juniper. The cliff bares 
its back teeth. Stone-faced, you slip 
a black knot over your wrists, fuse 

the ends with flame. How many times 
have you stopped short, breath 
jerked from the throat? To lose 

yourself in the fall; to have lost it all 
to need, affliction. Crank the heart’s 
ugly lever, set this machine back 

into motion. The bronze star points
north but never resolves. North-northwest, 
east-northeast. May you find your way 

by its burnished light. Here, take this 
talisman of good faith. A handful of
broken rocks, bullets for the journey.