Than sleep. A body can’t rest On the invisible, must
Twist and shift, muscle Draft and current, wind strafing
The eyes. However you make it Look effortless, do not
Deceive yourself flight will Set you free. Want it
Anyway, wind above And beneath you, lifting hard.
Unwieldy-hearted, browsing the blue, I never Imagine looming. Draw my shadow Self behind, cast down, a figure Dimming waves, fields, the shining
Pinnacled cities. Send people Netherward, from up here too tiny to be Thought of, heads upturning When the windows tremble. What a
Distance to travel, pulse and froth Rumbling the air, chewing, bearing smaller Spheres, like anyone armed to tumble forth Into gravity. So relieved, my gondola
Lofts beneath its gassy envelope, my breath Held. A spark will set me off.
She doesn’t want to harm me, so She hums. She prefers living alone, Needing a single twig, just one Hole. Like me she likes browsing
The desert where a breeze wafts Her dry, where she dozes On sand and ephemerals Astonish by the thousands,
Brilliant and willing when the brief Rains wake them. Out here, a female Can do it all on her own Time, and will, and goes on
Choosing, sounding herself entire, One bare horizon to another.
Katharine Coles’s seventh collection of poems, Wayward, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2019; in 2018, she published a memoir, Look Both Ways. She has received awards from the NEA, the NSF, the NEH, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Utah.