In this Season of Arrivals and Departures

Because yesterday we saw my mother off at Philly International:

and because the one thing harder than the give and take of family life is disconnection and separation:

Rooby watches my sister drive away

I share the following poem, begun in the window seat of an airplane:


At cruising altitude the earth comes clean,
the makeshift garbage heap of man-made things 
and nature’s thousand tangled hues of green,
made tidy by the miles.    Seen past our wings,
roads run straight, and silos glint like dimes,
each swimming pool slick as a polished gem.
Even mountain ranges, wild sublimes
of river, butte and canyon, figure trim
and tailor cut, their splendid disarray
mere patterns on a rug.  Obedient
and orderly, the planet curls away,     
its edges gently smudged, but on descent
it tugs us back,  its noise and ample mess                                  
as welcome as a lover’s sloppy kiss.


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