Vantage Point

by Gail Goepfert

Ms. Goepfert, associate editor at RHINO Poetry, is a Midwest poet and photographer.

Artist website:

Back to Poetry

I’m riveted to the swaying

platform of the lookout above

the Galien River in the county park

off Red Arrow Highway in Michigan.

No more than a pillar of support beneath me—

an amusement park ride.

I’ve got height-fright. Torn between wanting

to claim with my eyes the river snaking

below—and fear.


The clock reads 3:18 a.m. 4:44. I lie there.

Read reviews on my phone. Order safety rails online—

just in case my father will need them.

He wants to go away.

Gaze out different windows. Call it a vacation.

The data says at 99 he has less than one percent

chance of reaching 100. He tells everyone

I want to make it.

My father tries to step with the hustle

of a roadrunner in a body that says, hey, wait.

Even with his rollator, he looks like he’s doing

the 50-yard dash.


Ahead of me, the red-winged blackbird taunts

from its railing perch.


A fan of the whitest tail feathers unfolds

from a branch. An angelic ascension

without a name.

I want to remember these things.


Who among us will outlive.


The odds read that I will live

more than eight years.

I have no urge to make

a finish-line declaration.


Before lifting in tandem, the mating dragonflies

wheel round on the boardwalk

in their frenzy of heat.

The mallards bob and whirl

in their own watery planet.

I want to remember them—these, the resilient.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Send this to a friend