flight

by Dale McLain
Wild Poetry Forum
Third Place, December 2011
Judged by Nathalie Handal


The creek knows of winter first, and the geese
foretell it with mournful voice and striving wing.
I watch them skim the pallid meadow and love
rises, ices my spine in silver surprise.
I remember everything. Spent cornflowers
thronged a quarter acre beside the mill house.
I stood at the barre and dared to hope.

Toe shoes and chignon, I was a blade of grass,
a leaf in a book. I did not wish to gleam
or glint. I longed to be a feather on a grey wing,
side by side, quiet sister, indistinguishable.
It was fall and I walked home alone,
stepped from leaf-crush, wind-moan dark
into fire-bright chaos. Uncertainty was my truth.

And now I lift my hand, as if the sky is satin
draped from oak to cedar, as if it might feel
like a bird’s soft chest. I never was a plume,
never flew against the curtain of winter,
yet love found me, quicksilver kiss, snowbank
at my back. The geese lift me like a prayer
and the creek, in kindness, recalls what I let go.


Flight. Maybe. But something about this poem refuses to let go. --Nathalie Handal

  • January 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      How the Wind Works
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Sleep Walker
      by Brenda Levy Tate
      PenShells

      Third Place

      The Woman Who Grew up in My House Finds Me on Facebook and Comes to Take a Look Around
      by Antonia Clark
      The Waters

  • December 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Tires
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Babilu

      Second Place

      Scouring Pots While the World Ends
      by Elizabeth Koopman
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Poetry in the Cultural Revolution
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters