i once jumped out of an airplane.
yeah, i was with others who all thought
the air would save us, even though it had no
eyes and hands to hold us tight and close,
loving each of us who dared to trust the
ropes and cloth that could have been laundered
and folded neatly by some woman who
never watched television or ate pizza.
i asked many times but no one told me
about the little dog inside me who fell out the window.
we barked and howled, but not all the way down.
there was no siren, no alarm bell, only the
grassy hills and an arrow on the ground pointing at something.
i don’t remember anymore at what, just like the
professor down in front trying to explain something.
i was wearing a white jumpsuit, and i
made sure to use the outhouse often enough
so that the jumpsuit wouldn’t change colors at the sudden
mad moment when i let go of the strut
and saw the wing get smaller and smaller.
the wind nearly blew off my glasses.
i now know why paratroopers in the movies yell “geronimo!”
when they jump — so no one hears the little dogs bark.
i think i saw a white flower when i got done with
falling. i looked around to make sure i wasn’t on fire.
later i heard tall grasses tell their adventure stories.
it was so long ago the trees don’t remember
how many times i looked carefully at the dirt
when i practiced dying.
i captured an asteroid cold
as a lilac’s garden
so cold a woman's flower
has no scent
careen a rocket among children
preening with their eyelids
the bright stars
sinking deeper in
the sad mud of this nation
i wander and rocks stop lying
tailless crystals burrow
in the flaming sand
and disappear like me
over cars and trucks
and spray-paints a poem on
spain, france or chile
a poem thin as someone flying
in a hole in the ground
with a child's wing
a poem i stole from
a lilac petal
floating cold and lonely
among the stars
wandering in oaxaca a photograph
of yosemite lies crumpled in the pocket of a nurse
who wraps the wind around her mamacita’s neck.
the nurse warms the wind so it won’t remind her of the sea, or
the time when horses were some other animal
changing slowly into long-lost
street musicians who cry and holler at the hollow sky
until all the couples tie themselves in knots,
ancient and silent, lost men and women
coated with oil that seeps from a symphony
in the park, before it was written on all the leaves,
fill a cup, smear it
on a telescope lens and see
an asteroid aiming carefully at
a wet and glistening shell in the sand.