Annie Deppe, The Little Rehearsals


After the fall
backwards and the rock-
hard blow to the head
it was not exactly
dark (there was
that star-filled cliché)
but I was rendered
absolutely still

and then for weeks
there was the loss of
balance like walking
drunk down
stairs, until that day
in Arches
where you cupped
my head with your hands
and steadied me
beneath Balanced Rock.

That summer, back home
in Ireland, there was an inner
slippage, no, knots
that burst and spread
like gorse fire
along the IT band,
my leg until I could no longer
cross the room.

From our window I watched
couples. I watched families.
I watched our neighbour
lean into the wind
to reach his cows.

All those rehearsals, all those
long weeks. I watched
the tourists walk the cliff road
and found myself weeping
for the gift of
locomotion as easy
as breathing.

Annie Deppe is the author of three books of poems, Sitting in the Sky, Wren Cantata (published by Summer Palace Press), and Night Collage, forthcoming from Arlen House. Her work has appeared in journals such as Poetry Ireland Review, Stinging Fly, and Sojourners, and several anthologies including the Forward Book of Poetry 2004. She has lived on the west coast of Ireland since 2000 and is a dual citizen of Ireland and the US.

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