I watched the boy
struggle to climb a fence.
I don’t know whether his intent
or if he was merely retrieving a lost ball.
It was a tall, wooden stockade barrier
and progress could be measured
in the merest of inches
but failure was all the way back down.
I didn’t volunteer my help.
He was a kid
and that would have been an insult.
But he did catch my gaze
once or twice.
He must have thought my height
He could have much more easily
exited through his front gate
but that lacked the derring-do of a real option.
The fence was Mt. Everest or an opposing army
or a thick jungle or a rampaging animal.
Or maybe it was even me.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. His work has recently been published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review, and is upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia College Literary Review and Spoon River Poetry Review.