A Tightrope Walk

Written by: Rhonda Johnson-Saunders


I balance on a tightrope. Surrounded by 
lovers and dreamers, I teeter above a raging sea.
I admire their glossy smiles and envy
their bright-eyed confidence; envy is a sin, I know.
Please forgive me; a lie would carry more guilt.
The waves crash in dark shades of gray, still they smile.
Their laughter from all around pierces the thin air.
I teeter alone; I may or may not fall.
My fate is undetermined, in my own hands;
the tragedy today may be tomorrow's comedy.
Their laughter echoes...
On a day like today, the fresh tears sting. 
If only I could wake from the nightmare,
pry open the windows of my tortured soul.
If only I could charm the feral...if only.
Oh, the skeletal monsters we are bequeathed!
Yes, I understand the meaning of loyalty.
A fool believes the wicked will fall.
A fool believes the merciless will change.
Can a hollow chest develop a beating heart?
I chisel stone walls, searching for a glimmer of hope,
a flicker of humanity behind steel beams.
Could you spare a token of remorse?
I dare to drop a coin in a fountain of wishes.
A pocketful of coins jingle as my wishes sink
to the bottom of the venomous waters. 
I am patient as I teeter on the tightrope.
The audience cheers taking pleasure in my pain.
Blood pulsates through my veins, yet I feel cold winds
penetrate my soul. I refuse to cower or
live in contention... 
Blood is thicker than ink. 
I find my balance in the written word, a gift of life! 
Words sometimes spill from a bleeding heart.
I beseech the ghosts of the past to end their haunting.
Their breath is the frigid wind. I find shelter...
Tempered is the skin of the wounded. Who knows
what may lie beneath the flesh. In the mirror,
you may find a frightened child in need of love.
Most find the strength to balance and stand.
Every step brings me closer to solid ground...
I am reaching for you. Please take my hand.