Tentative

A poem about testing limits

Tanya Bryan
May 18 · 2 min read

Movement outside my window caught my eye.

It wasn’t the usual swaying of the branches

But something bigger, bulkier, more deliberate

Than the whims of the wind on the still-bare tree.

It’s April and from my vantage point, I don’t even see

Buds, although they might be there, hidden by

The grey shadows of the day.

A raccoon, an unruly, scruffy teenager,

Takes tentative steps down the branch.

He seemed unsure as the branch

Bobs under his weight. Considering he’s

Only half the size of what he will become,

I wonder if that branch, upon which I’ve seen

Him ascend but never descend, many times,

Will hold his bulk. But now, his scraggly body

Moves with one step forward, two steps back,

As if security comes from the farther reaches

Of the branch, not towards the heavy trunk

He’s trying to reach. I stay still, observing his

Progress, wondering if he’ll turn back.

After many attempts, as if something invisible from behind,

Pushes him forward down to the trunk, after which

I can no longer witness his actions.

I think that’s the last I’ll see of him today,

But within a few minutes, I see him climbing up and down

Other branches, one thicker, one thinner, and now I realize

He is doing what all teenagers do, testing the limits of

His abilities and his environment, tentative

Then suddenly bold, without a clue or a care

Of the outcome other than to know

Where he can go next. That is freedom.

The Junction

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Tanya Bryan

Written by

Builder of worlds with words. Short stories, poetry, books, arts & entertainment, movies, language, and creativity. Humour/satire. https://linktr.ee/tanyabryan

The Junction

The Junction is a digital crossroads devoted to stories, culture, and ideas. Our interests are legion.