The moon is caught,
    safely held in the branches of the tree.

The children would climb
    higher and higher
delighting in the fearful height.
I never watched,
afraid my presence below would cause
    a careless step, a loosened grasp
and the awful plummet to the ground.

Now they are in the world
and I do not ask
    of encounters, lovers’ quarrels.
Entering their space I could
    precipitate the dreaded fall.

Lari Smith

written 11-94, taken “Out of the Cradle” 2/2/95