Too Far

I forced myself to sleep like a fretful child

just after takeoff because the growing distance

between you and me made my head throb,

and eight hundred miles later I woke with a start

and pressed my temple to the glass as though

I’d only been looking out instead of dreaming

I was falling, and I saw the horizon split into blue

above and snow below only it wasn’t snow

it was clouds and I was looking at the tops of things

I’d only seen from the bottom before and they

opened up like pack ice breaking loose

in an arctic summer and between the floes

was an ocean of gray water with ancient peaks

beneath the waves only it wasn’t an ocean

but the dry land under the clouds and

the crests weren’t submarine mountains but

the folds of upheaved earth chafing the bellies

of cirrocumuli, and you were not there when

I turned to say “oh look!” and you’re not here

to tell stories of learning to fly and the grace of land

and sky when they linked arms in a reel and swung

each other round, and I’m not there to smile at

your memories and imagine I can see as you did.

No. We are parting, though we insist we are not.

Each time I go and you stay, we part,

like the land down below where a runnel

cuts a canyon from stone.

©Dana Hughes 10.29.17

One thought on “Too Far

  1. “Breathless” seems the right word for this–not only for the breathtaking way you describe the view from a seat in the stratosphere (“like pack ice breaking loose in an arctic summer”) but because such a long sentence goes “Too Far” to make it on one breath and if I try I wind up breathless and out of breath and desperate to breathe again–which, I suspect, is pretty much how you felt as you wrote this. I love the way nothing is what it seems in this poem, and so it leaves me wondering what is and what isn’t and forever unsure between the two. Like so much of your poetry, there is an aching beauty in these lines. Have you submitted this anywhere? It needs an audience.

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