It’s a venerable Hollywood trope,
Symbol of Nature’s indifference to Man,
Of how the very ground beneath us can
Lose solidity and leave us to grope
For a companion’s hand, a tree root, a rope.
When you find yourself inexplicably sinking
On dry land, your confidence and your hope
Ever so incrementally shrinking,
That silly, much-maligned movie device
May strike you as a truly precise
Metaphor for how, without warning,
Your career, your marriage, your health, your luck
Can be perfect first thing in the morning,
And then, at noon, suddenly start to suck.
Kevin Mims lives in Sacramento, California, and is a notary public, seller of antiques, bookstore clerk, and freelance writer. His fiction and poetry have appeared in publications both literary (The Threepenny Review, The Mississippi Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, and elsewhere) and commercial (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and elsewhere). His short story “The Gallows-Bird,” a murder mystery inspired by the life and work of poet Edwin (“The Man With The Hoe”) Markham, was recently nominated for Best Short Story of 2013 by the International Thriller Writers organization.