Flight path

The blaze of a whole sky opening
once we are free of earth’s weight,
its portents, its demands – high above

the tacking threads that hold the fields
edge to uneven edge, the sudden shine of water,
the ants’ eggs stacked up in the parking lots,

the dissolving of trees into a dark fur:
gone, all gone, hidden
beneath the ecstasy of cloud.

We are lost in light. Nothing above
but air emptied of breath, blue,
polished, unlimited, weightless

and below, this loose ungovernable terrain,
naked, unboundaried, changing
its possibilities each moment:

here, white and ribbed as sand
when tides withdraw; there, huge pilings
that a hard broom of wind

bristling with intent, heaps up
like old snow, greying at the edges;
now thin veilings, new cashmere.

Over a crawling sea, fresh tufts
the size of a hand, are echoed in shadows
on the grey below; and later through

a growing density of white,
unexpectedly, a sudden parting shows
more than seven miles below

a ship, a glinting fish, motionless
but also going somewhere
with a cargo of evening light

spilling upwards from the steel decking.
My fellow voyager, as invisible to me
as I to you, each breath carries us

rapidly apart. For high above
the clean edges of this static boiling
we are chasing the day, while you

now vanished far below, see only
the underside of cloud, light dowsed,
night pulled down like a blind.

Beatrice Garland

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