Tu 1-13 Fall Into Grace

(But for God’s grace . . .)

Fall into Grace

The sixteen-foot ladder propped
against a juvenile maple, I wind rope
around a thick dead branch, suspended by
looping vines between the maple
and another dead tree. This backyard
eyesore blights suburban aesthetics.

I yank rope taut as a stretched rubber band
to the maple, step up eight feet, stretch
a pruning lopper, and squeeze tight
the main vine noosed around the limb.
The vine snaps—sling-shot,

I back-flop into a snarl of bushes,
seeing lime-green leaves, clouds,
groaning, grunting. I grab a sapling
and pull from my prickly bed. Gasping.
Lower back scraped raw. Elbow bleeds.
Pride deflated. I stagger into the back yard,
stare at the forensic scene, body imprint.

What force
prevented my ankle or arm not caught
between rungs from fracturing? The limb not
crushing my rib cage? Neck not
broken in a bushy coffin?

What power
pillowed my head in sapling bushes?
Who threw the ladder, the widow maker
several feet from the undergrowth mattress?