Summer, 2002 / No. 8

It is about airplanes

I can’t help thinking

when in a squeaking fleet of bicycles

on the blackest of roads,

tree dark and every second pole

not quite lighting the way home,

bicycles like airplanes in the night.

Is it possible that fighter pilots,

who have never eaten lake trout,

never danced with all of you,

or drank exactly that beer, that way,

feel something like what I’m feeling

swooping in formation

over the empty deeps,

a little capsule of proximities,

a cluster of arts,

each glowing shape nearby

a name and some funny story

they can really only tell each other,

quirks in the mechanism

like faces?

Do they measure speed in terms

of inches closer to catch the scent

of hair and sweat, to hear

the murmur of exertion

before it drifts into the lake?

Of course they don’t;

these are just bicycles and

when we fly,

no one gets hurt.