Flying East for my Grandson’s Birth
And I’m sailing in high silver over Pendleton and Bozeman
as you journey the last hard inches toward the sill of the pubis.
At 33,000 feet, the outside temperature, according to the screen
and these frost flowers blooming here on the window by my seat,
is minus 59 degrees Fahrenheit.
Council Bluffs and the rectangular plains marking buffalo bones
in late snow. Now the thick Mississippi twists like an umbilical,
and the cord, coiled through generations, tightens my groin.
Push, they told me, and what else could I do, my back cracking
over the rim of the world?
At the darkening edge of the continent,
she is breathing and sweating. Let somebody’s cool hand
sweep damp hair from her forehead.
As I pass over Cincinnati, she is opening in waves and scarlet
birth blood is flowing through us all. East now of Pittsburgh
she is riding her moment of I can’t do this any more, the body
almost inverting itself, and clouds rushing under my wings,
until the lift and gasp in the moving air.
Sometimes we call this
Child, I will tell you every glorious thing I know:
We are made out of dirt and water. Someday your hands
will have freckles and lines. Many cherished people
have lived and died before you.
Oh, and, child, one thing more:
this earth invents us and consorts with us willingly
only because we tell stories.