TO LEVITATE …
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
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.”