“To Levitate …” by Cathryn Essinger

Cathryn Essinger


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
so effortlessly

I knew that if I stepped out onto the air
that it would hold me.
I may even have done it
without realizing

how easy it is, before doubt takes hold
and weds you to the ground.
Odd that we should forget
such things.

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


Cathryn Essinger: “I write poetry because it is the one place where I can combine fiction, feelings, and facts without losing the reader’s trust. I belong to a small poetry group that has been together for almost twenty years—The Greenville Poets. Without them, my poetry would be unexpressed.”

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