Spring 1986, Volume 3

Roberta Glidden

The audacity
of leaving the ground --
one, two, three, maybe four steps
on the rocky slope, the next step...
into the sky.

Time stops. "See you later."
The camera dutifully documenting
the rigging, the spreading of rainbow wings,
hangs forgotten about my sunburned neck.
I stand where my brother stood seconds
before, astonished by the fact
of his leaving.

Launched. California colors glide
over the first ridge then
O Leonardo! a thermal lifts him
above my bewildered head.

I rush down the road to keep the strange
bird in sight. Soaring, circling,
he drifts down the steep canyon
we had labored up, the ruts and chuckholes
of earthy travel far below him.
What does he see? Trees like lawn,
the great inland sea glimmering, all his?

Now more like a moth from where
I stand stupefied, afraid to blink
for fear of losing sight of the speck,
my only brother.
The strand of love and prayer between us, a silver filament stretches
unbroken down the canyon
from where I stand on the quiet road
to where he frolicks over the amusement park
far below. It pulls at my heart;
I too am aloft. Earthly attachments,
some dear, some treacherous, are abandoned
to the joy of flight.