Joan Colby


The two hawks in the woodlot
fly together. Their practiced patterns scour the earth.
Flying in tandem circles
Wheeling the thermals,
They drift dreamlike, two compatible hungers.

My son-in-law and I discuss our dreams.
The lost car, the keys that won’t unlock,
Forgotten notes, standing speechless
At the podium, chased by bad men,
Trapped in elevators, we wake sweating.
Anxiety, I say, he nods, these terrible dreams!
His wife, my daughter, comes in at the dead end
Of dream-talk, raises her arms, flapping.
I love my dreams, she shouts.
I am flying, my arms wide, flying
Over cities, over roof tops, over the arctic circle,
See, she twirls, how I am flying.
We two, who love her, but not so much
At this moment as she exults
In her bird phase.

In the worst dream, I’m in a plane
That is veering from sky to ocean
Passengers are screaming.
I rush to the cockpit.
At the controls, my mother sits

We love birds for the flying
They inspired. Icarus’ story, a caution that deters
No one. Not those who leap from planes
In haloes of silk. Or those who chose  like
Hart Crane or John Berryman
That final flight: from the Orizba’s deck or off
The Washington Avenue bridge.
Meanwhile, the hawks continue flying.
A fire burst seeded the universe.
With stars, planets, asteroids and moons.
Everything in space flying,

© Joan Colby

Joan Colby’s Selected  Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and Ribcage was awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. Her recent books include Her Heartsongs published by Presa Press and Joyriding to Midnight from FutureCycle Press.

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