Saturday 10 August 2013

Poetry 2013 Longlist, Jose Varghese

Step by step, fear climbs on me
as I try not to look upwards or
downwards. Just climb up, they say,
and I try. I could feel sweat dripping
down my hair, the damp school
uniform rubbing against my back,
but I move on. The stairs spiral
upwards non-stop. Heart-beats
play an unpleasant drum inside
my ribcage. I follow the others,
who are almost at the top now.
I refuse to climb out to the balcony,
but someone forces me on. I am
standing there now, my fingers
clung to the railings, trying to
fight my vertigo from a place where
everyone else enjoys the sights,
down down there - the sea, the
feathers of eagles spiralling close
to the railings, the breeze... but I
stand there, gasping, waiting to let my
fear climb down my limbs, step by step.

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