This was this place we’d go, every Wednesday
when I was off work—and it was just this tiny portable
you fastened safely against me,
babbling meaningfully to yourself,
and the airplanes:
from this hill with a winding path,
across the river from Chelsea and its oil drums.
I knew you understood things then,
and had chosen to be here now, in this place
where the only thing I had to give you was me,
and these things I curated through eyes
that saw for you until you learned what to see.
Airplanes. The Sumner tunnel.
Seagulls scrapping. Another baby. Water.
The hill path, spiraling until we reached the top.
The flight paths approaching over the bridge,
heading for the airport
that was so close,
jet fuel dripped in our yard.
Your legs kicking, knowing what comes next.
The sound of an approaching plane, so close overhead
its backdraft made us duck
and yell against the roar—
its wind whipped my hair
into the black cornsilk of yours
as you squealed and cheered,
fists and legs bouncing
against the funnels of wind.
You’re fourteen now, watching YouTube videos
in your room, waiting for me to help with an entry form
for a school exhibition. You still talk to yourself.
When did you start being this?
When did those eyes take seagulls and hills,
and draw them to life?
How did you become you?
Because it wasn’t me—
I just witnessed and stepped back,
watching from that same hill
where somewhere, we still exist
in holographic relief,
marking this eternal pastime
of our chosen roles
in this lifetime—
one of many, and probably not the first
where we yelled at planes together.
This time, I carried you
until you learned to walk,
and when that wasn’t enough,
you demanded flight
and the right to safely land your craft.
I wish I could tell that younger me
all you would be in time.
I couldn’t know then of the momentum
of your liftoff—
I can only duck and cheer from the ground,
bracing myself for the impact of your landing.
© Psyche Marks 2018