From the Paraclete Poetry Winner—Laura Reece Hogan
Litany of Flights
by Laura Reece Hogan
First, the winged movement, steady, forward. Scrub jays in flitting
progress, hawks in predator glide, a ringing up, a knife-sharp slope
down. Second, the effortless type, wind-splayed, motionless pinions
in thermal recline, as the Psalmist says, blessings breeze his love even
in sleep. Third, the hungry, against the gale, the destination singular
and the sun dipping crimson. Fourth, the metallic, business or pleasure.
Fifth, the whirring kind, all hummingbird. A picnic, apples and chocolate
in the garden with roses, both flower and child. You miss it when it’s gone.
Sixth, a baffling flight of stairs, winding upward, passage and yet vehicle,
spiraling to unseen landings—hope courses in the kaleidoscopic lights.
Seventh, soar to the sun. Eighth, melt in bitter hubris. You know the story.
Ninth, escape. A flight out of Egypt, a path through the sea cleared by
divine hand. The times you ran, the times you were left behind in lament.
Tenth, only rotting in the belly of a whale tames your stubborn turn from
Nineveh. Eleventh, flights of despair and of yearning, two sides of one
letting go, hard-earned release back into the wild, unbound by expectation,
featherlike. Twelfth, in a moment, caught up high by the Beloved, the one
making all things work together, wings, body, arch, air—caught up, like the
Shulamite bride, to regions beyond aeronautical wisdom, transported in joy.
See, he says, the painful paring of your hollow bones has made you light.