Monday Poem

“(Swifts) feed in the air, they mate in the air, they get nest material in the air. They can land on nest boxes, branches, or houses, but they can’t really land on the ground.” —Researcher Susanne Åkesson


I’ve been airborne since
Augustus set the footings of the Roman Peace
—in that alone I flew two hundred years
without alighting once. My forebear’s bodies
so studied the inclinations of drafts
they bequeathed me wings and means
to defy grounded predators
whose craft is stealth and might
while mine is lift and flight

angels I’ve known were met
in conclaves of clouds real as the dust
of parched whirlwinds,
but high and sweet and wet

free in fog we’ve bet
that a universe of soil and stone
may last —perhaps

but still, that of blood and bone,
ligaments, limbs, and breath
will be snapped short as the short straw
in the short-sighted lottery
of man-alone
Jim Culleny