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.

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