by Rachel Grey
This one is all about darkness and flying:
a window into night, a lone light tossing in midair.
Too dramatic? Try this instead:
A window into night, a seven-year-old girl
staring out into storm, the flexing wingtip of a 737.
That would be me, trying hard to find a reason
(I had fallen in love with logic early and hard)
not to be afraid. Beside me, my mother's hands
were clamps holding her to the seat; I glued the
wing to the plane with my eyes.
Years later, of course, I found out that I should have looked
away, if anything, if every event requires an observer--
but the faith of watching calmed me, and
the plane's shaking dominated only my body.
And why does the storm not pull us down?--the wing is strong enough.
Enough for what?--to withstand the lightning and the wind.
And I knew the wing as a made thing, saw suddenly the
bright scaffolding of knowledge holding us-
thought, I am not alone, not if other makers
walk the earth
or sit alone in offices after hours
with cold coffee and sketches, visions of wings.
Perhaps even now some young giant is bent over papers
deciding the rise and fall of other journeys.
It would be another long year before my mother told me
what cats do to make kittens, finally adding "Well,
people do it the same way." But I was always a precocious child
and I got this far:
That he would smell of warmth and knowledge
that he would pick me up easily and hold me on his lap
and tell me what I was meant to know
about what wings are really for and the many ways of flying.
Beside me, the woman who bore me was tense and silent in her seat
as I warmed and blossomed, knew that he had overcome me,
shook with each huge footstep as he carried the plane to Denver.