If you are holding this poem
in your hands, put it down.
This burden is mine; I will bear
it.The boulder is my heavyweight,
my anchor. The boulder is my ball,
and I its chain. The boulder is so
porous, the slightest giggle of wind
goes through it.The boulder is therefore
easily provoked to fits of rolling. The
boulder is passive aggressive.The boulder is
stone-faced. The boulder has no idea it’s a
boulder – and even if it were told, it would not
believe it. The boulder swipes right on
immovable objects, hoping that one will tame its
unstoppable force. The boulder was not always
round; it moulded itself to my chin, my shoulder’s dip,
the grip of my arms. This fucking blessèd boulder. It
does not fall it runs, from heights where it knows its
cracks will be seen. It jumps so that I will catch it. It heaves
so that I will hold its tufts of moss behind its ears. And I, a
hard thing, softening its fall – I lift it and no one notices I too
am heavy hearted. And yet, to be fair, the boulder deserves
better. The boulder needs a stronger hand than mine to steady it.
The boulder was mountain-cut; born precious and gleaming. The
boulder must be kept intact at all costs. The boulder just wants to be
your healing stone, your Boulderhenge, your doorstop for escape. But
when the boulder tries to roll all over you, don’t let it. If it rumbles to
your door at night, don’t haul the peephole to the side. Do not indulge its
crunching teeth, its sways, its scrapes, its cracking.Forgive it when it climbs
into your shoe, and you, while walking, feel it stab your toe and try to throw
it out, and it refuses to be dumped. Forgive its rockiness. Forgive its gravel
where should be grit. Forgive its inclination to go low, when you, for its
elevation’s sake, take the steep road. Most people fear their peaks and hide in
valleys. Most would choose to be bound to Earth, even if there were no gravity.
And what is gravity anyway, but a child that clings to whatever it fears will leave them?
Isabelle Baafi is a writer and poet. She was shortlisted for the 2019 Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition, and was Commended in the 2020 Verve Poetry Competition. Her work is forthcoming or has been published by Verve Poetry Press, Allegro and elsewhere. She is currently working on her debut collection.