As a boy, he had dreamed
of plucking marshmallows
out of the bright blue overhead,
which he’d save later for S’mores.
He had imagined faces here, the
gentle, pudgy cheeks of old women
and upturned noses of old men
wrinkly in the sky–like moving puffs of smoke.
He had not expected the clouds
to be so light—nearly massless—
not something he could travel to
only travel through.
Falling through soup
on a windy day.
That’s how he had imagined
it would feel.
Like soaring through heaven,
outstretched arms as steady
as the wings of the birds
he could see on the horizon.
But as he felt his body
his childhood fantasies vanished, erasing
thoughts of thick soup and gooey S’mores.
Rather, he faced combative resistance
and a terrifying roar,
the pressure pounding against his eardrums,
ready at any moment to … POP!
And his arms weren’t stretched out
gracefully as a falcon;
they were twisting and flailing, fighting every inch,
as he spiraled down, and further …
Would he be forgotten? Tomorrow,
would he be weightless and steady, graceful and pure,
or as heavy as right now—as his breath
mouthing a muted scream—here in the boundless blue?
© Leslie I. Benson, 7-8-14; revised 8-19-14