Spring 1991, Volume 8.1
Poetry

LOUISE CRAGO

Frequent Flier

At the stair top: a six year old discovering
that to hold your breath makes gravity stop.
There is no sound. And it is not a dream.
She pulls the held breath high in her chest,
a twitch of will, and floats down soft
in perfect concentration. Later in life
she learns the glide, the swoop,
can climb through dream air and at the last moment
bank to miss the chandelier. One time
it is a long sweep over an outdoor valley
ringed by mountains—the people underneath
look up startled, hands held to shade their view.
Last night I lifted, rudderless as a blimp,
and bobbled along the ceiling of the porch—
and if I had bounced outside that lid,
I would have risen straight up
into endless stratosphere, a lost kite,
a pink balloon shrinking smaller and smaller
and disappearing to a dot.
Today I placed my feet carefully, I did not
permit emotions of any kind to surge,
I counted by change to the penny and
was not late a single time. And at evening
I nested in the sofa, wedged with pillows,
and stared at space. There was no sound.
And it was not a dream.
Is it because she was new
and I am old—or is that simplistic?
I wonder what birds dream.

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Et Cetera
 
I only ask that it continue and get
bigger, better. I only ask that
you see it is not my fault. I only ask
that you take the world in your claws but
let me run like a hare. I only ask that
you sit down with me somewhere, in some night cafe,
and tell everything. I only
ask that some final touch occur, even a dream touch
in dreamtime—if not your
mouth on my red wild mouth, then
even your silver ribbons whistling
the air above my hair.
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