Betty Adcock teaches in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. She is the author of six books of poetry, her latest, Slantwise, published by LSP Press in 2008. She was Writer in Residence at Meredith College in Raleigh until 2006 and has twice been Visiting Distinguished Professor in the North Carolina State University MFA Program. Adcock’s work has appeared in dozens of anthologies, including the recent Pushcart Book of Poetry: The Best Poems from the Thirty Years of the Pushcart Prize.
He hangs from a pinnacle-
at seventy feet, its hundred years hold
him by strap and barbed boots when the huge
branches let go under sawteeth. They break
in a little drumbeat of twigs and falling
ivy vine, then the singular thud of earth-grown
And there he leans to wave, to curtsey,
to cut a figure like a skater on the air.
He gestures, hangs by one hand, jumps up
to tap across a branch big as a small bridge.
Gandy dancer in reverse, he removes
the tracks laid down by all those years
in the deep whorls of the heart,
behind him only the blue sky
emptying now. He’s a high sparkle
of red in his jumpsuit, his long
hair flying, four limbs jiving
up there to stay alive. He tips
his hardhat, then turns intent
to the destruction he’s best at,
the joy of that.