That Wallenda Gal

Wanda Praisner

After a bad practice fall,
she’s back on a tightrope,
says on TV she’s a bit nervous,
practices every day with her brother—
they’ve done the Grand Canyon,
Las Vegas—coming up: Times Square.
I like that she wears false eyelashes
for the coverage. Nice.

You’ve got to keep it all going.
I’m up there with her, pole-balancing—
not where I’d like to be,
afraid of heights and all—
but where my love in his dementia is
these last long four years,
as I learn to not lean to either side
too much, the need for patience,

a belief it will get better, one foot
placed carefully in front of the other,
feeling my way, wary of wind—
I, no high-wire artist, no bearer
of a 200 year wire-walk legacy,
who must get to the other side
without getting to the end of my rope.
She broke every bone in her pretty face.

About the author
Wanda Praisner, a resident poet for the state, is the recipient of the Egan Award, Princemere Prize, Kudzu Award, First Prize in Poetry at the College of NJ Writers’ Conference, and the 2017 New Jersey Poets Prize. She appears in Atlanta Review, Lullwater Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her sixth collection is To Illuminate the Way (2018).

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