October 31st, 2008
My mother swears she saw
my baby brother rise from his cot
one stormy night when
we were living upstate.
She was awake, checking the shutters,
when she saw him levitate,
a foot or more, covers rising
with him the way they do
in carnival shows, so you don’t see
the wires. But, he lay soft and pliant,
a floater, weightless as
a shadow on the wall.
“Something in the air,” Mother said,
because she believed in such things,
and reminded us often that most
children know how to fly.
And I do remember running down a hillside,
breathless, the ground rising to meet me,
my heart lifting my blood
I knew that if I stepped out onto the air
that it would hold me.
I may even have done it
how easy it is, before doubt takes hold
and weds you to the ground.
Odd that we should forget
Odd, too, when I tell the story
how no one believes exactly,
but the room gets quiet
and everyone listens.
–from Rattle #25, Summer 2006