Poems

The Story of Flying

No-one will survive such a fall
I think. Then I fly.
 
My friend stood in the old airport foyer
with a tumbler in one hand
and a sealed envelope in the other.
When you take off, tilt your head back, he said.
Tilt your head back and close your eyes.
It sounded like an instruction for kissing,
the lessons we were taught once.
I was not afraid.
I flew according to my friend’s methods,
followed the international safety regulations
until I finally understood
that not all flights are about survival.
 
I’m here to tell you something new
about the capacity for flight,
about girls
burned by fire
and about myself too
about my own, private methods.
You turned to me, trusting my magic.
I tell you about the girls.
They’re invisible to the untrained eye.
You can’t tell them from the rest.
They go to fast food joints like everyone else,
go shopping and max out their credit cards,
leaving empty.
They break the speed limit,
sound the horns of their cars.
They don’t need to hide their wings
because there’s nothing to hide.
They are simple as crocuses.
Walking down the street,
they don’t give telltale glances at the sky
because they know well
that earth is sometimes more important.
They don’t look like girls in magazines.
Their faces don’t launch a thousand ships.
They are most lovely
when they fly,
aimless and blind.
Their love can be a punishment.
At midnight,
when they say goodnight
and smile like always,
they open the windows
and breathe the soundless air
with their whole bodies.
They don’t even understand how they rise,
high, towards the full moon.
Below, seas and oceans
mountains and rocks,
the others who sleep so soundly
they never think to step outside,
look skywards to see them –
fl ying aimlessly
girls with closed eyes
an army of armless magicians
whose flight looks like longing
and is never a compromise,
whose only spell is
“I love you!”
who know
that if flying doesn’t end next to the one
we were born for
it is better to observe
one simple rule:
not all flights are for survival.
Now, my friend sits in his armchair
holding a cup of tea
and a TV remote control
and says:
Why are you always like this?
Why are you so happy one minute
and so unhappy the next?
I look at him –
sorry for me
care-worn from worrying –
and I tell him nothing
because he believes in the strength of my wings
the power of safety regulations
the power of happy endings.
 
I always fly with my head tipped back
and my eyes closed.
Today, your love is my flight path
and your body my safe landing.
On a thread I hang on,
I fly like a kite
that won’t obey the direction of the wind
or obey anything at all
only the currents of your breath.
We both know well
that falling from such height
will break life’s dream.
You decide.
I will forgive you.
Not all flying is about survival.

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