Your foot strikes the ground running.
The force of the stomp seven times gravity,
whipping your knotted laces forward—
your tethers to the earth.
They stretch and relax in response,
and loosen your ties. Your swinging leg
an inertial force of its own
against those swinging ends and loops.
All too soon the knot binding you fails

Scientists say you need both
the impulsive force
at the base of your knot
and the pulling force
at your twisting loops and frayed ends
for complete knot failure.

Is their hypothesis then to bind
securely, to double knot your life?
never pull on the loose ends?
Or shall you risk the avalanche effect?
Laces loosening, flying unshackled,
fully teasing out the exhilarating adventure
of life and death

Ana Manwaring’s poetry has appeared in anthologies, notably Sisters Born, Sisters Found, First Press, Collected Works from Napa Valley Writers 2017, and Times They Were A-Changing, Women Remember the ‘60s and ‘70s. She teaches creative writing in the Napa Valley and is publishing her first novel, Set Up, this year.