A Cop-R-toxed or creosote pine pole,
lopped forty feet tall, slightly tapered,
branches shorn from the functional bole,
cross beams notched and bolted, spikes
for the climb set eighteen inches on center.
Die before you die, the mystics say.
When I imagine throwing my life away
on such a rumored glory,
there’s always something to it to hold onto,
an essential sovereignty over which
I dare not presume authority, clutching
the utile pole, gloved hands,
thick boots glued to the spikes.
Thinking to climb to the top
where the real work begins.
More than a fear of death
or an instinct for survival –
a primordial knowledge, an inchoate awareness
keeps me clinging unquestioningly
to this separate, individual awareness and existence.
O child of God, surrender is not a life tossed away
but returned to its original owner.