Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Flight

Osseous, aqueous, cardiac, hepatic—
back from bone the echoes stroke, back
from the halved heart, the lungs
three years of weightlessness have cinched to gills.
From a leather chaise, the astronaut’s withered legs
dangle, as back they come, sounds
a beaked percussion hammer startles into shape.
The physician cocks his head and taps—exactly
as a splitter halves his slate, the metamorphic rock
chisel-shocked, then shocked again, halved

and halved, until a roof appears, black as space.
I’m gaining ground, he says, the astronaut,
who knows, from space, earth is just a blue-green glow,
a pilot light he circled once, lifted, swiftly flown
above the rafters and atmospheres, half himself
and half again some metamorphic click, 
extinct as memory.  I’m gaining ground,
he says, and back it comes, his glint
of cloud-crossed world:  a pilot light
or swaddled leaf, green in the season’s infancy.

Credit


First published in Poetry. Copyright © 2006 by Linda Bierds. Appears courtesy of the author.

Author


Linda Bierds

Linda Bierds was raised in Anchorage, Alaska, and attended the University of University of Washington, where she received her BA in 1969 and her MA in 1971.

Date Published: 2006-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/flight-0