Precipice

when I run out of milk, bread, eggs, I take myself shopping
stepping fast, racing against the danger
sometimes even forgetting why I have to make such haste
but then I remember. I turn back
and see myself
balancing on the edge of a precipice

I come home laden, heart beating fast, feeling momentarily safe
and although my muscles may ache
I regulate my breathing, and my core begins to relax
but then I remember. I turn around
and see myself
balancing on the edge of a precipice

I recall the many attacks that felt like the final one,
the one that had taken the breath from my body
toppling me, sending me into an eternal, grief sodden freefall,
ears throbbing with the screams of the damned,
to join the blameless eyeball-popping crazies
who had been driven insane by pain like mine
but every time I came around
to find that I had stood my ground
and I was still
balancing on the edge of a precipice

years pass, with no day free from hope or despair
in a constantly rotating combination, and I stand
wobbling precariously, wondering whether I can survive indefinitely
whether something will save me
or whether I will eventually
fall off the edge of the precipice

©Jane Paterson Basil