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Landing Analysis

Author: Poetry of Eleanor Wilner Type: Poetry Views: 262

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Maya1979It was a pure white cloud that hung there

in the blue, or a jellyfish on a waveless

sea, suspended high above us; we were

the creatures in the weeds below.

It seemed so effortless in its suspense,perfectly out of time and out of place

like the ghost of moon in the sky

of a brilliant afternoon.

After a while it seemed to grow, and we

inferred that it was moving, drifting down-

though it seemed weightless, motionless,

one of those things that defy

the ususal forces-gravity, and wind

and the almost imperceptible

pressure of the years.But it was coming

down.The blur of its outline slowly cleared:

it was scalloped at the lower edge, like a shell

or a child's drawing of a flower, detached

and floating, beauty simplified.That's when

we saw it had a man attached, suspended

from the center of the flower, a kind of human

stamen or a stem.We thought it was

a god, or heavenly seed, sent

to germinate the earth

with a gentler, nobler breed.It might be

someone with sunlit eyes and mind of dawn.

We thought of falling to our knees.So you can guessthe way we might have felt

when it landed in our field

with the hard thud of solid flesh

and the terrible flutter of the collapsing

lung of silk.He smelled of old sweat, his

uniform was torn, and he was tangled

in the ropes, hopelessly harnessed

to the white mirage that brought him down.

He had a wound in his chest, a red

flower that took its color from his heart.We buried him that very day, just as he came

to us, in a uniform of soft brown

with an eagle embroidered on the sleeve,

its body made of careful gray stitches,

its eye a knot of gold.The motto

underneath had almost worn away.For days,

watching from our caves, we saw

the huge white shape of silk shifting

in the weeds, like a pale moon

when the wind filled it, stranded,searching in the aimless way

of unmoored things

for whatever human ballast gavedirection to their endless drift.


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