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‘Aerial Perch’ and other poems by Cynthia Pitman

By: Cynthia Pitman

Aerial Perch

I want to sprout vines
and climb the water oak tree,
clinging to the thick-barked branches,
so rough they will scrape my knees
and scrub the callouses
from the soles of my feet.
My snaking grip will carry me
to transcendent heights
where the frightened birds
with their hysterical cries
will warn one another and fly away.
Then I can be alone to survey the world
while bringing forth new leaves
greener than the greenest green.



They want you to push me from your womb
and rid you of constant encumbrance.
But I will not go.
Not yet.
I’m lying low, making my plans.
How will I make my entrance?
Head first, of course.
Better to see the world before you step into it.
I will push through to the light,
then turn my head side to side,
surveilling the world for jeopardy.
Sliding and swerving,
slithering and squirming,
I will navigate the stygian canal,
quickly, as if I had a mission, someplace to go.
Then my legs and feet will appear,
kicking hard against the empty air.
I will declare myself unto the world
with a thundering clarion call.
I will howl
long and loud.
I will be heard.
I will not end up another one
of all the pitiful little ones
who came before me.
I will not disappear into the crowd
as soon as my first breath is taken.


The Birth of Fall

The day hangs gray from the opalescent sky.
Silver-shaded clouds roof the world below
that now rests in relief from the stark sunshine.
The scorching heat has finally released
the air beneath,
absolving it of the penance it pays
to the burning star.
Now we can breathe free
in the alabaster embrace
of the cool wind’s caress,
soothed by her grace.

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