When you fly, you are
not an angel--your grip
is too hard, your concentration
too necessary. You carry the earth
with you into the sky; it is heavy
in your arms, your muscles pushing
against invisible currents;
it is thick in the determined way
you hold your mouth.
Only when you descend
do you become winged,
only when the ground rushes up
to meet you, and you step
lightly, so lightly, down.
BIO: Gayle Brandeis is the author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write (HarperSanFrancisco), Dictionary Poems (Pudding House Publications) and The Book of Dead Birds: A Novel (HarperCollins), which won Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize for Fiction in Support of a Literature of Social Change. She lives in Riverside, CA with her husband and two children.