Canvasbacked wing above my head & strained vision through the angled
struts, the ballbearing grind of the single-engined bushplane
burrowing up into the August blue currents as we rose

to catch the diminuendo of the state road receding & before us
the winding branch of the flintcold boulderstudded branch
of the Middlebury River threading like a silver necklace

between the cleavage of the mountains, the countless matchwood sticks
below (the slick trick the high mast gives to massive pine & maple
unyielding did we ever have to crashland anywhere in there)

& easy now he half sings into the headphone above
the engine’s whine hypnotic even as we come up
over the headlong rushing crest to catch the road down which

we had earlier driven, the rusting vintage trailers hidden
in among the trees like so many painted turtles sunning unawares,
the gutted hulks on cinder blocks in yardways & the flinty quilt-

work patches of the rundown farms ashine now in the elongated
wheatgold rosy fingers of a too too happy sun
lazing down the southeast heavens before we tilt hard to starboard

& buzz the yellow inn slanting sideways with the doll-like figures
some of whom are waving as others go on about their business
& I wave, my heart lost & going out to them

in a gesture which at this distance must be useless & because
the trick is not to stop we break off now across the wilderness
again where no roads are, not even fire trails that I can see

& in a pocket of a morraine a pond flares up, its phoenix fire
silverlining two hawks circling as they have for ages,
& then at once the mountain we have been climbing falls from sight

until gravity & time itself & fear of that felix culpa
are burned away but for the telltale stain of yellow
in a single maple worlds below & then, as it must always be,

a shudder as we bank & catch again the paper wings & rhythmic
pump of engine & the complex numbers on a panel, the inward breathing
playing with the heady benzine breathing outward of forever.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 4 Number 9, on page 37
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