We climb out the window and onto the balcony
she sits on the ledge, so large to me
so small to those below.
Eye to eye with distant highrises
the street noise echoes up from the pavement.

Flicking the ash of a cigarette over the edge
I watch it disintegrate and disappear
a few stories below;
and I imagine tears dropping from my face
darkening dots on the pavement.

I want to open my arms and clench my toes
to the ledge of cold stone, removing the context
from the small world below;
though I am still disillusioned by distance
unaccustomed to rising about ground level.

In the morning I will pound down four flights
of stairs: feeling the world enlarge
illumined by the rising morning
like an uncovering of scars -
naked in the light.

I am struggling to rise, to breathe
a patient in recovery:
tubes removed, bandages still taped to skin.
I am shaking off the atrophy -
bit by bit.

Tired eyes darken with the deepening night
staring out into the small world below;
I know I will reach that edge
building the strength to climb I sit back
waiting to hoist myself up again.