On the Edge

by Anniel9/16/16

When I was young – and I was going to say
Beautiful or dumb, or maybe both or neither –
I wanted to know how others lived, and the way
They behaved in fun.

On a certain night, a friend agreed to escort
Me into the worst, or maybe the best, depending
Upon your perspective, bar in town, the report
Of all degradation.

It was a cold (as usual) payday night, so I wore
My wonderful winter coat, with the foxy fur collar.
I thought to enter unobtrusively through the front door
And just observe.

Of the hundred feral faces I remember only a flash,
But I clearly heard the obscene growls rising from a
Hundred feral throats, when panic began to clash
With quiet observation.

On shaking legs I lurched about and began running
As fast as snow, ice and rickety heels allowed.
In future I firmly resolved not to go gunning
In troublesome places.

Looking back over some forty years, or more,
I clearly see how foolish we looked, he (did he
Know?) the peddling pimp, and I the high-priced whore –
Until I fled.

A few times since, my own carelessness has brought
The void close, and once, unbidden, it came hunting
For one I hold dear, as, ventriloquating, it sought
Harm through me.

Today the abyss seems more dangerous somehow,
Nearer and more hungry. One dare not thoughtlessly
Stray close to the crumbling edge, and thereby endow
It more power.

Since life deals in opposites, love must be learned
So we stand true before God, finding faith to live
Well, knowing He will not allow us to be burned
When the abyss
Comes calling.

June 2008

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2 Responses to On the Edge

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Would that we could all be safe from the abyss. But many fall in, and they take many others with them.

  2. Gibblet says:

    Anniel, that is a beautiful poem of a painful memory.

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