Old sidewalks crack and buckle near big trees
and over land that trembles during quakes,
so pathways that should let us stroll with ease
can be disruptive. Here’s a ledge that makes
a rising step, and there’s a slab upthrust
(Sequoia sempervirens isn’t small).
I treat concrete like hiking trails – I must
attend to how I step or I could fall.

But sometimes I misstep and start to trip –
I have to stutter forward then a pace
or three, head leading to maintain my frame.
Recovering, my impulse is to whip
my face around to cavil at the place,
as if the faulty sidewalk were to blame.

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