I can’t picture you opening the door of a hardware store
comparison shopping rope gauge, fingering
the textures, picking the blend that felt best rolled in your fist.
Sometimes I think of you using a phone cord
for convenience, making your plan
while twisting its plastic coils around one long finger.
Friends attach origami swans
to ceilings with thin twine
a short jog from the undergrad library.
Mom’s hand absentmindedly traced the spine of her book
as the ambulance rolled past her window, no siren
to catch her eye, she lowered her head back to the page.
Five weeks later, Dad used his belt for a tourniquet,
unable to seal the hole left by the garden shears,
trying to descend the ladder with one hand.
You’re there when he aches to tie his shoe,
when the doctors explain the robust progress
of all his wounds. Two years later,
two years in which I’ve pressed my face
into a pillowcase every night
I’m told you used a bedsheet, spun and knotted.
Rachel M. Simon
Rope is from Theory of Orange (Pavement Saw Press, 2007).