By Alison Stone

In a harness hung from the ceiling, the children

soar above our heads.

My daughter first – it’s her birthday.


She squeals, giddy with flight. Returns

to earth red-faced and proud.

Each girl takes a turn while


others yell her name.

As the last girl swings, one rope



The harness arcs. By less

than half an inch

she clears the metal pole.


The kids are hustled to a bouncy castle. I stand

shaky in the cluster of mothers.

At night my daughter glows


while she relives her forward flip,

friends’ cheers. Gold flowers

for her newly-pierced ears. Seven candles


snuffed in one blow.

I see the broken rope. The girl,

the pole. The inch’s fraction


between them, grace

or pure dumb luck

which may not hold.


Alison Stone is the author of Dangerous Enough (Presa Press 2014), Borrowed Logic (Dancing Girl Press 2014), From the Fool to the World: Poems in the Voices of the Major Arcana of the Tarot (Parallel Press 2012) and They Sing at Midnight, which won the 2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award and was published by Many Mountains Moving Press. Her poems have appeared in The Paris ReviewPoetryPloughsharesBarrow Street, Poet Lore, and a variety of other journals and anthologies. She has been awarded Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly’s Madeline Sadin award. She is also a painter and the creator of The Stone Tarot. A licensed psychotherapist, she has private practices in NYC and Nyack. She is currently editing an anthology of poems on the Persephone/Demeter myth.

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