Home > Poetry > from Seventeen Wings: 1-6
Published: Thu Jul 1 2004
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
from Seventeen Wings: 1-6

is the given, rising
the flame to which we cling

one yes after the windfall of no.

Like other bodies, ours
will obtain a height, but the question
remains, whether

by gliding down or by leaping and grasping—

Standing at the window with my son
in my arms, we watch the stars
then the streetlights
toggle off, the day not here,

coming. The coin
in mid-flip, the foul ball arcing
out of play, then in.
My son leaning into me, wholly.

Think of slender hands
for catching, of how hard
the wrists will work to break your fall.

Don’t think of being born into flight.

Think, if you can, of grace
and hunger
as the arc of falling

not from but into.

In the night, a cloud
of small winged things
called close by the streetlight
and the bats, feasting.

Apovechar we say in Spanish:
to take advantage of
but not in a bad way.
To delight in what was given.

The balance
by being inside a body

as if the body were weight not lightness,
as if my son, young enough to laugh

whenever I laugh
on faith
weren’t also learning when to make a fist.

One day, probably a Tuesday,
this thing we call
_will uncoil inside you

and it’s then
you’ll rediscover your hands
one over each wing

and let go.

Philip Pardi has poems in recent issues of Hotel Amerika, Marlboro Review, Nimrod, Mid-American Review, and Painted Bride Quarterly. (updated 2004)


Back to top