Balance Beam

How do her toes know to grip
the beam? Her hands hold varnished
wood, while I hold my breath.
Wonder again about this body,
floating once in the fluid of my
body and now able to kick
itself upside down on four
inches of wood. Her fingers
tether her.  Suspended
and holding, holding, holding
down.  Feet again planted, her
very cells balance in this
twist against physics and sense.
Now she must tuck, knees
to chest, leap and land again, no
strings, no cord.  My fear paws at
the ground, ready to charge, but
she stays upright, regains her
feet and glides to the dismount.
I clap, call her name, cheer for
this stranger, this daughter, so
balanced and sure without me.


Beth Konkoski is a writer and high school English teacher living in Northern Virginia with her husband and two teenagers. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals, including: The Potomac Review, Gargoyle, and The Aurorean. She has forthcoming work in The Saranac Review and Gyroscope Review. Her chapbook, Noticing the Splash, was published in 2010 by BoneWorld Press.

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