“Climbing the World’s Tallest Radio Tower” by Erich Brumback

There’s something like a cage
to protect the central pole from
who knows what, at this altitude.
There are plates and drums welded to it,
and wind you might
never come back from.

No one else said anything either
I thought the parking garage was too
quiet that night for sure. The powerlines chattered
less nervously than ever.

Sometimes it’s as if
you’re just a child
navigating a jungle gym, the ladders and rails
twist cleverly. The ground is reduced
to a shade of green.

Once we threw a bicycle wheel from the top
of that parking garage
as part of a game, somewhere between
red rover and catch— one team
sends the wheel hurtling, bouncing
at the other
with as much force as possible.
Where’s the harmless
self-direction there? the pacifistic abandon?
We could have put someone’s windshield out,
crushed a stroller,
or more.

The curvature of the earth is visible
beyond other towers, but
I’m hypnotized
by the toolbag swaying, dangling
from a rope below
The huge carabiner

Erich Brumback listens to traffic passing all up and down the east coast. His poetry has appeared in Small Po[r]tions and is forthcoming from 3AM Magazine.