by John Russell Monagle
To tightly clutch safety does not always ensure safety like when one holds the railing of a boat on roiling waters during a storm as gale winds moan and waves crash on themselves. Stroll the stormy sea, especially if raging water is less than the rage within. The first step of faith is to leave what is known and go forward when water shifts under feet, when skin is cold from buffeting wind and water sprayed from every direction. Voices call out, including one inside the head pleading for the return. Going forward is slow and the body is heavy, burdened by fears and temptation to unburden the self of prayers and belief, to sink into questions, drown in doubts, undisturbed by the callings abounding beyond and within on this journey of wet and heavy steps. Even as the heart freezes, there is hope to hear a voice recognized though never heard, to gaze towards the location, to find the face known and prized though never seen, to grip the extended hand. The only way is to go the next step. When the heart is obedient to the full sensation of life, it will realize peace and safety upon arrival, to stand firm within its grasp.
John Russell Monagle resides in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He retired from a career at The Library of Congress. He graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing, specializing in poetry. He has had numerous poems published, most recently in Sin Fronteras, High Plains Register, and the New Mexico Poet Laureate anthology of New Mexico poets for 2022.