Landing is the part that gets me,
Gravity exercising final control.
We must always come back down.
My brain abandons all logic on final approach,
Dredging up all the images of Icarus,
Wings spread, hands up, head back,
Dropping like a chiseled stone from the sun drenched skies above
Mediterranean waters. Daedalus, often forgotten
In the picture, off canvas, watching horrified,
His son, saved from the minotaur to be eaten by sharks.
Hearing the sick slap of flesh on unyielding waves,
Bones snapping, skin bruising black from the force,
Consciousness switched off—a mercy—as the young man,
Wax wings, disfigured from flight and folly and fall, breaking and spreading,
Sinks under the serene summer blue of the sea.
I have no problem with heights.
Takeoff. Flight. Physics is a solid comfort,
Predictable, law abiding. Landing follows suit,
But variables are all I consider.
It’s a silly fear. I had carefree days when I truly believed
A blanket cape made me Superman. But even he started out
Only leaping buildings. Drop him from the edge of space
I bet he’d have a bad time, too. Likely it would be a broken wrist.
What happened to Billy?
Oh, he jumped off the roof with a blanket around his neck.
He’s lucky he only needed one bone set.
What happened, Clark?
Skydiving accident. Needed a cast.
Sure, sure, I still expect those articles on my desk tomorrow.
Falling is the problem here. The joke is that the instant deceleration,
That’s what kills you. I’ve fallen from a few heights.
I still climb; the view is often worth it. Trees, slides, trees, again.
Hitting land is no problem, sometimes survivable, always some evidence.
And I have falling nightmares, and drowning nightmares, sometimes sequentially.
Maybe I fear Icarus’s fate.
I fear falling from too great a height to be lost in the unplumbed depths.
Unrecoverable. Lost. Forgotten.