I couldn’t make it. I was seven.
Stolen skateboard underfoot, I attempted
The ascent of “monster” hill at Duell and Meadow.
Tractionless, my size 3s were no match
for concrete clawing backward at the wheels,
and I splintered
into a telephone pole, forever after
taking the long way to Granny’s,
an extra half mile, McDonald to Main.

I think of this at the peak
of “Oh My God” mountain in Guyana.
Half a day’s climb straight up
on ice-mossed rocks in rainy season,
no switchbacks or
taking the long way.

The vibrations of Kaiteur Falls
crashing at the bottom
shakes loose the memories

of the steepest slopes I’ve summited,
of the smallest ones
that have summited me.