Rita Dove

  • Jul. 30th, 2012 at 11:57 PM
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Against Flight

Everyone wants to go up - but no one can imagine
what it's like when the earth smooths out, begins

to curve into its own implacable symbol.
Once you've adjusted to chilled footsoles,

what to do with your hands? Can so much wind
be comfortable? No sense

looking around when you can see
everywhere: There'll be no more cloulds

worth reshaping into daydreams, no more
daybreaks to make you feel larger than life;

no eagle envy or fidgeting for a better view
from the eighteenth row in the theater...

no more theatre, for that matter, and no
concerts, no opera or ballet. There'll be

no distractions except birds,
who never look you straight in the face,

and at the lower altitudes,
monarch butterflies - brilliant genetic engines

churning toward resurrection in a foreign land.
Who needs it? Each evening finds you

whipped to fringes, obliged to lie down
in a world of strangers, beyond perdition or pity -

bare to the stars, buoyant in the sweet sink of earth.

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