Serendipity and the Mountain Climber by Esther Sadoff

May 21, 2024 | Bubbler, FSR

She wakes and feels the ice pick in her chest.

The mountain climber is hacking away at her again. 

She feels the ice pick jam into her heart, feels the shards

 of ice slip and scatter into the expanse below.

The mountain climber believes in speed.

 She is cold all over. She feels alone

 like a paper bag blown high into a tree. 

Alone like a whale 2000 feet deep in the sea.

Breathing feels secondary.  She forgets she has 

a mouth and nose, aware only of eyes that open and close.

 When she coughs the mountain climber is rattled. 

Coughing gives sudden shape and breadth to her lungs.

The mountain climber hangs on with one hand,  

the ice pick glints sharp and loose in the other.

Esther Sadoff is a teacher and writer from Columbus, Ohio. Her poems have been featured or are forthcoming in Little Patuxent ReviewJet Fuel ReviewCathexis Poetry NorthwestPidgeonholesSanta Clara Review, and South Florida Poetry Journal. Her debut chapbooks, Some Wild Woman and Serendipity in France, are forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

“This poem is part of a larger series of poems about a fictional character named Serendipity. My “Serendipity” collection examines issues relating to language, culture, identity, luck, overcoming fear, and finding your place in the world.”