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

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