As for that plane that landed on the Hudson,
it occurs to me that for the first time
in aviation history, the slides from the plane’s exit door
were used as illustrated in the brochure
to float on water, and that the diagram of the yellow rafts
had been useful. A year later, the safe pilot, the hero
Major “Sully” Sullenburger, appeared on television
in the front row of American Idol. His smile
must have reassured those terrified kids
who try to follow the judge’s instructions.
It’s the ones who manage not to look so scared
that shimmer with the angelic beauty of the saved,
Carrie Underwood years after her win belting out
Jesus Take the Wheel. Beside my bed
Eckhart Tolle and a book about yoga,
like scaffoldings, unfold into blow-up life rafts
floating on the ice of the twenty-first century,
and me, with my thoughts impractical as stiletto heels,
puncturing. Early in hunting season, I was making a left turn
across the highway when the albino doe looked up.
Her pure white muzzle reached into dying foliage.
Her pink tongue lapped a mouthful of crimson leaves
when she stared through the open window on the passenger side
of the car. Her white flanks heaving, she bounded
away like gunshot. The clearing emptied by her terror
reminded me of motherhood, how the moments
leapt away, first those I could improve upon
—the hunger for milk, the birthday parties and splash parks,
snow cones and roller skating—and then the ones I couldn’t:
fifth grade, the geometry teacher, America’s Next Top Model,
her father on the other side of the ocean, the boys’ eyes
staring at my daughter’s blond hair, her own eyes
staring at her body in the mirror. I felt anger, fear, guilt, shame
and that huge pulsing placenta of love for my daughter
at the center that so often I wanted to tear out
only to do it I’d have to rip out my own heart.
Brad who has no children told me Carlos Castenada
says you give your aura to your child
for a little while, and then you get your light back,
a diagram prettier than my own. Here’s another:
The branches tap the window of my room.
Hawks float in blue framed by the skylight.
I want to make love. The mountain climbs in one direction,
the river in another. The minutes of this day
have no rudder. The passengers are smiling
at a silly tv show where terrified children
sing their hearts out to the judges
who have their work cut out for them.
I hope the hero is listening