Leveling the Spin

Left by the curb,
near but not near enough
to hear the echoes
of the building I know little about.
She will park the car
farther away in some other
unknown place and direction
and she says she will be right back.
 
My world is one step up or down,
the smoother sidewalk cement
or the rougher street held
together with small stones.
My white cane can
tap in this nowhere,
can stab at the ground
so I know
where ground is,
suddenly
not trusting
my feet to anchor me.
 
Open space alone
makes me dizzy,
desperate for walls
or anything or anyone tall
or solid to hold onto
or to hear
with practiced ears --
my lullaby of space defined.
Of course she will come back.
 
In the meantime, I force
my face to crack
into the smile of terror distracted.
I chant, "There are people in the world.
There is a building near you.
You can feel the ground.
You can move if you have to.
Your cane can find cliff edges
you know aren't there.
The chance to fail
doesn't mean you should stop --
you should freeze,
not yet.  Not today."
 
And then I hear
familiar footsteps
and she says,
"You're still here."
 
- - Nancy Scott