While Repairing a Chimney

You fell to earth like Icarus—
fifteen meters to be exact—
but you survived
thanks to good karma
and Herman Survivor work boots.
Like Achilles, your heel
was never the same.
Physicians said you’d never walk again,
or surely you’d walk with a limp,
but thanks to the surgeon’s skill,
bone was harvested from your hip,
your heel reconstructed.
Now, like Hermes, you walk and fly
all over the Earth. Your feet are miracles,
testimony to the gods’ protection,
testimony to your warrior spirit
after eighteen bones were broken
and your heart stopped three times.
I want to anoint your feet, soothe the scar
running along the outer edge of your sole,
learn from you to rise again and return
from the shore of the River Styx,
to always keep moving forward,
one foot in front of the other,
until there’s no need
to look back.

Leah Stenson is the author of two chapbooks, Heavenly Body and The Turquoise Bee and Other Love Poems (Finishing Line Press, 2011 and 2014 respectively), a regional editor of Alive at the Center: Contemporary Poems from the Pacific Northwest (Ooligan Press, 2013) and co-editor of Reverberations from Fukushima (Inkwater Press, 2014), which was awarded finalist status in the category of Social Change in the USA Best Book Awards and first place for Poetry at the Pacific Rim Book Festival. Her full-length book of poetry, Everywhere I Find Myself, was published by Turning Point in December 2017. She serves on the board of Tavern Books. Please see http://leahstenson.com.

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