by Alan Gann

Sixty and never inclined to cut,
Joanie decides every piece of scrap
is perfect as it lays. So odd
protruding corners and jutting planks
like awkward teenage kisses
define the edges of her retreat.
Yet every surface runs parallel--
why else the marches: for civil rights,
the environment, against the war
if she did not believe in the leve--
the joy of nudging a recalcitrant beam
up a little then halfway back
till the bubble sits still,
content in its center.
And Joanie always asks for permission--
from the sycamore, two-by-four and nail
before hammering this or that piece
into its chosen place. Now,
if she decides you belong or need to see
the view from above, will invite you
to climb the rope, follow her limb to limb
to limb and after she pulls herself through
the portaled floor, reach back down
and ask you to take her hand.

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