My adventure begins
         with a clock ticking, airplanes
         move. The first sight
         of a skyline receding
         and bombs fall through my heart.
         Airplanes mean wartime London,
         Dayton on wings, or a visit
         to any unknowable past—someone’s mother
         just, and only, off the ship, watching
         planes take off from New York
         and New Jersey. I nestle in my chair,
         jot down a line for later, feel
         anxious to get to San Francisco.
         Hours pass and touch down
         while I sleep.

         First I notice foliage, then
         I’m shown around. The Cliff
         House with the Musée Mécanique.
         Déjà vu comes sneaking through this
         geography, traced out
         by motorcycle wheels that strain
         against gravity. Yes, we sing
         to learn
         all the words. The wind
         sings along in our own voices.
         God, how many people
         jumped off this bridge trying to fly off
         into your Western sunset?
         My sunglasses and helmet were almost
         lost to the same romance.

         Then come the clouds with
         random raindrops splashing
         like old songs onto
         the pavement. They chase me and the sun
         farther west. I’m climbing again,
         I’m falling again
         through the clouds,
         through a stormy sunset
         in the middle of the Pacific,
         into a congested city
         in Paradise.
         City without billboards, rainbows bridge
         the clouds. I freeze in small prop planes
         as we buzz from twig to twig—human
         bees sampling the islands.

         In one remote Hawaiian moment
         I was strapped back and
         sitting shotgun
         in a rental car, the fear
         of falling holding me fast
         to a harsher cliff wall.
         One narrow lane
         through a giant’s fairy tale, clouds
         and cows flying above me, panic
         and anger falling down like rocks, and
         my own imagination, falling, falling,
         I’m falling then,
         smacking down safely in the dead
         Northeast winter,
         white, small, terrified, home.

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