The Long Way Down
Some birds have a special ritual to celebrate the selection
of a life mate. A courting eagle meets her partner at a
great height. She locks talons with him and, bound
together, the two tumble wildly, flightlessly toward the
earth. Beak over tail, wing over wing. It is a long way
down. There is fear and screeching.
Well how else are you to love except by risk, by some
mutual peril, while the earth calls you down from the
unsteady sky, clinging only to what could carve a hole in
A troupe of ancients
men and women grown gray
are playing chess in the park
They are so bent
their bodies so weighted with meaning
that they are actually fading in the twilight.
With little retentive smiles
they sit stooped beneath the load
of their memory,
heavier now than the life yet ahead of them;
a man in a sailor hat topples
his opponent’s queen;
he is really enjoying himself
when he stops laughing
his eyes wander in their circled rookeries
like dark birds;
his past occupies so great a space in him
that with each retrieval of it
his form is dimmed,
so that the more he recalls
the less he exists.
The old widow across from him
turns to look at me
and disappears completely.
Change is just entropy in a party hat.
You know this.
You are sure of it.
From the bay window at night
the oldest oak behind your house
frown in agreement
that frequent its huge limbs
turning skeptical heads
will you join
our very exclusive
convention of dignitaries?
Eric Schabla is a poet, classical actor and horseman based in the Midwest. His written work has been featured in IVORY TOWER MAGAZINE and the newly released book, MINNESOTA’S BEST EMERGING POETS. He admires the writing of Rumi, Cormac McCarthy and Claudia Rankine, to name a few.
Artwork by: JR Korpa