Taylor Graham

Such a tricky takeoff.
A short runway
in a cup of mountains.
I imagine you suddenly

a quick
bank and turn
away from the cliff face,
and then you're
climbing into free sky.

How I envy your flight,
the passage from element
to element, tarmac'ed-earth
into air, how you cut
through wind, sleet

to come back home.

But I'm the one who keeps
you in the air.
One moment's unmindfulness
on my part — if I failed
for just an instant

to imagine flight—

in that instant,
the waxy sheen would melt
from metal wings,
the manufactured beak
would plunge

to bury itself in earth.

Oh, if I could stay awake
long enough—
let's say, forever —
nothing bad
would ever happen.

And so, in my mind I watch
how you separate
from your own shadow
till you're tiny as a moth
I could catch in my hand.

I hold you there,
breathe on your wings
until you begin the descent,
grow larger and
at last


lurching down to become
one with your shadow.
I take your hand
in mine and ask you
about the flight.