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Thursday, 20 August 2015

Fireflight by Sean Gunning

Fireflight

A jagged-edged charcoal line in the sky -
three, maybe four dozen birds flying north,
a mile above the 22 freeway,
five, maybe six miles south of Garden Grove.

Ahead, just hours into its rise, the sun:
a goddess, naked and burning with life
behind a thin swath of white chiffon cloth;
blinding; illuminating creation.

Almost invisible, like kite strings caught
in some holy pull, side-by-side for miles,
thousands of migrating gulls; each beating
heart a part of a family heading home.

To the north, mountains. To the east, mountains.
To the southwest, the weight of an ocean.
An avian etch-a-sketch in the sky.
God shaking out his electric razor.

How do they know when everyone's leaving?
How do they know about wingtip vortex
and drag? Do they really communicate
on such an advanced, organized level?

Did they know to wait for yesterday's rain
to wash the dark choking smog from the air,
so they could breathe in the full majesty
of late-fall, snow-tipped mountains as they fly?

How many here could take it on the chin
and lead from the front for hour after hour
then rotate back to help the weakest wings
and not veer from the plan to act as one?

Cars and trucks are passing me on both sides.
Spirit voices urging - This is neither
the time nor the place to daydream and dwell
in cool metaphors and cold memories.

Do you know this feeling? To want to slow
when all around you is a blur of speed?
When the firemen climbed the Towers that day
did they feel that sense of another's hand?

And amidst waves of terror rushing down,Fireflight

A jagged-edged charcoal line in the sky -
three, maybe four dozen birds flying north,
a mile above the 22 freeway,
five, maybe six miles south of Garden Grove.

Ahead, just hours into its rise, the sun:
a goddess, naked and burning with life
behind a thin swath of white chiffon cloth;
blinding; illuminating creation.

Almost invisible, like kite strings caught
in some holy pull, side-by-side for miles,
thousands of migrating gulls; each beating
heart a part of a family heading home.

To the north, mountains. To the east, mountains.
To the southwest, the weight of an ocean.
An avian etch-a-sketch in the sky.
God shaking out his electric razor.

How do they know when everyone's leaving?
How do they know about wingtip vortex
and drag? Do they really communicate
on such an advanced, organized level?

Did they know to wait for yesterday's rain
to wash the dark choking smog from the air,
so they could breathe in the full majesty
of late-fall, snow-tipped mountains as they fly?

How many here could take it on the chin
and lead from the front for hour after hour
then rotate back to help the weakest wings
and not veer from the plan to act as one?

Cars and trucks are passing me on both sides.
Spirit voices urging - This is neither
the time nor the place to daydream and dwell
in cool metaphors and cold memories.

Do you know this feeling? To want to slow
when all around you is a blur of speed?
When the firemen climbed the Towers that day
did they feel that sense of another's hand?

And amidst waves of terror rushing down,
when everything beneath them fell away,
did they agree, as one, on what to do?
To hold formation through the ashen cloud,
and keep on climbing.
when everything beneath them fell away,
did they agree, as one, on what to do?
To hold formation through the ashen cloud,
and keep on climbing.