So three climbers
          on a footpath above

the tree line, the sun a-face,
          pose for a photo,

stair-stepped, tenuous
          like they could fall—

upshot of an op-shot—
          like a domino chain,

meaning not Fats, but fast.
          Accordingly, Thoreau

said luxuries hinder
          elevation. Elevation—

a fixed point measured
          into the heavens from

the base of a hoodoo by he
          who measures

a peak from the

footholds where the earth
          seems flat, Dead Sea flat,

sunken, where one needn’t
          bother with a floatie—

marked points, a laser
          pointer, an Irish setter,

pulse, altimeter,
          David’s Peggotty.

Lilacs are used as food
          by larvae of certain

          Scalloped Oak, Saras;

but, lilacs still smell
          like lilac, insinuate

themselves into. Reverie.
          Sweetness carried

onto a breeze. We
          grew up with it:

Peggotty, second mother
          to David,

the scent of lilac,
          against which he

measured the height,
          the fall, and how much

it would hurt.

about the author
Grace Curtis’ book, The Shape of a Box, was published in 2014 by Dos Madres Press. Her chapbook, The Surly Bonds of Earth, was the 2010 winner of the Lettre Sauvage chapbook contest. Her work is in Sou’wester, The Baltimore Review, Waccamaw Literary Journal, Blood Orange Review, and others. www.gracecurtispoetry.com.