Elizabeth Volpe

Sky Diving

Do you want to remain completely unharmed?
—Jorie Graham

My husband tells of the time he parachuted
on a dare from his son,
how unflaggingly mindful he was
as the door of the plane
slammed open against the hard slap
of sky, how his hands on the struts
turned to iron claws as the trainer shouted
Jump. He was the first
in line that day, the first to feel the steel
moment, the jarring of unfaith,
the sloop of body as something separate.
Even so, he flung himself
backward into the arms of a six o’clock
sky, hung there in that element
he had accepted as part of his life-script,
a nimbus of silence around him
despite the plane ratcheting overhead
dropping other fliers,
the thwap as his parachute
ballooned above.
I fling myself into this time
before I knew him,
a life he couldn’t know I’d enter, when
his leaps and longings
had not yet touched any idea of me.
There are so many ways to leave
the ground, to put yourself at the mercy
of ripcords and luck.

Elizabeth Volpe
“Sky Diving” first appeared in nidus, No.7, fall 2004.