Man in Flight

Betsy Andrews on

Published in Poem Of The Day

My father, lungs a-warble, spreads his arms on the nursing home bed,
swoops low over rough, unfamiliar terrain. The hospice nurse ticks off procedures.
My mother signs papers with her large, lush loops, so ravishing,
more ravishing than the chicken-scratch scrawl of my father's hand,
clubbed now, a long-lost claw-phylogenesis recapitulated, and ontogenesis, too.
Overhead, the geese tootle toward the marsh.
I look out the window. The geese have landed,
foraging slowly on the manicured lawn, unruffled, for now,
by organochlorides and organophosphates and their amplification
in the rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat blood of a bird. And 2 and 4 and 2 and 4,
my father's bent language its own looping code, laying an egg like a parrot,
and every so often an embarrassed embarrassed and every so often a dammit.
"Our relationship wasn't exactly warm and fuzzy," my mother blinks
behind drugstore specs. They make her look owlish.
She isn't owlish; she's ravishing, more ravishing than ever she was
back in the days when the couch was her tether and pills were her hood
and my father flew at her with razor blades lashed to his feet.
The hospice nurse ticks off further procedures.
The geese crop the grass; their idyll won't last. The city, half-cocked,
is gunning for them, hatching a brood of lethal procedures
to rid itself of the soft, light bodies so hazardous to man in flight.

About this poem
"I have been thinking a lot lately about everything that is up in the air. There's a lot up there; it's crowded-planes and birds and, at least metaphorically, the souls of the departed all colliding, bumping into one another."
-Betsy Andrews

About Betsy Andrews
Betsy Andrews is the author of "New Jersey" (42 Miles Press, 2014). She is the editor-at-large of Organic Life magazine and lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, whose aim is to make poetry available to a wider audience. Email The Academy at poem-a-day[at]poets.org.

(c) 2015 Betsy Andrews. Originally published by the Academy of American Poets, www.poets.org. Distributed by King Features Syndicate




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