As the spring stream rises beyond its braids and ice melt overflows its slowly snaking banks and the current gouges gravity’s deep sprint line of stone resistance and tightens channels through the sand and gravel layers, undercuts fir roots, pushes trunks aside, rives the bouldered clay restraints and slices straight through the unsuspecting village green—
my daughter, tied-in by wide, trained hands of hovering experts, spins the canted spokes of her new titanium alloy wheelchair. She thrusts down the hall’s careful ramps, shortcuts stands of tall, shocked legs stumbling after her, whirls, speed-sweeps thresholds, and surges on.
Christianne Balk’s poetry collections include The Holding Hours (University of Washington Press), which includes this poem, plus Desiring Flight (Purdue University Press) and Bindweed (Macmillan). Her work has appeared in Cirque, Harper’s, Poemoftheweek.org, Prairie Schooner, and other publications. She lives in Seattle, loves the Anglo-Saxon rhythms of everyday street talk, and travels frequently into the Cascade Mountains with her husband and daughter.