Driving past graveyards, when we were young,
My brother would hold his breath
So spirits of the dead did not enter him.
But I wanted to keep those passed alive.
I would breathe deep,
Inhale the memories and cut-short dreams,
Sweet like the scent of a room just passed through.
One stove summer day I stood inside a ghost,
A lighthouse shade in a cool stone corner,
And wrapped myself in gunpowder smoke
And saltwater mist.
Lives in the air brought back to life.
See, in the right light you could see them
Faces in smoke, their touch in a mist,
On hot days when they danced
On the street in the distance.
In storms I would rush to the window
To see phantoms wave leafy arms at me,
The wind through the wires calling me.
Foggy dawns were armies of steam,
Waiting in ambush in damp valleys;
Thunderclouds were souls reaching for release,
Jostling, holding tight, buoying each other up.
I longed to ride the trade winds and jet streams
Carrying our essence, then and now.
To breathe in the nimbus lives.
For I knew: death is but a sigh.
Our lives are just one exhaled breath
In the weather.
So I did what I breathed to do:
I learned to fly.
Lifted by the secrets of raptor guides
I rose and dipped on the currents in the sky
Of relationships, passions and hopes.
I slipped between cold and warm fronts
Pressing together like lost lovers.
I listened to the passion trapped in cumulous up-drafts,
The voices released in the bruised hearts of storm clouds:
A confession, a conclusion, a humid regret
A young man’s dying wish
A new mother’s love never heard
The snowflake of a mute poet’s first words.
At altitude I had the perspective that comes with death:
How what follows life is as full as the silence after a lightning strike
How vacuums do not exist
How we all blur at the edges
And all the puffs of our lives become one mass
Cupping the world.