A new poem by Greg Bell

Alone on the Wall

                              after Alex Honnold

On the face of it: smooth granite.
Though, viewed closer
(and you must look closer)

there are fissures fit
for fingering, slits in which
to wedge a chalky fist,

that talus to wrap your
head around. It takes one’s
full bag of tricks, this slow

soloing of seams and
subtle nooks; a sequence
of steady licks

near shaky lips. Or me, scaling
the sheer slope of your
thighs, worrying all the while,

how the hell to hold on.
But then you open up,
whisper in my ear:

Go down—and I fall —