He Takes Flight
The invitations mount in a pile on the table. One follows him
around his house as gentle sighs, exhaling
the burden of his duties, the things he was expected to do
every day, the littlest of things you wouldn’t think were so heavy,
like making the bed or brushing his teeth,
day after day, ceaselessly.
Another arrives like a warning whistle
as he sits at his desk, his screen a streetlight
illuminating the tracks ahead, his day a cargo train,
car after black car, stretching endlessly
into the wild prairie with its hungry harvest, his gut burning
like a black coal, and the steam that keeps him chugging
can’t move up and out his pipes.
The last summons lands at his feet in a crumpled ball,
after his partner wonders aloud what they might enjoy for dinner, and he yells
back at her, not just testy, but mean and spiteful. Even this
tiniest and inconsequential of decisions feels like a billboard shouting.
He stares down at the paper, gazes up to her and collapses,
not physically into her arms but right there before her, he falls
into pieces, broken mirror littering the floor.
his heart finally stills
from the chase of all those invitations,
and the soft round world around him catches up.
It’s not that he’s given in or given up. It’s not like that.
It’s more like he put the barbell back into its rack along the wall
so life doesn’t hit him straight on, like he’s open enough
so that life moves through him.
He discovers that the world did not stop when he let go
of his load. The sun still shines gold in the sky and
clouds cast shadows on the sidewalk. He takes flight,
an eagle gliding on thermals high above the patchwork of earth,
unencumbered by life’s demands, no weights to carry.
For the moment, free.
And that is enough.