A Kite, A Frame, A Tail

By Gregory Loselle

I A String

Consider how a kite struck from the sky
collapses on itself and creases up
in flight: a battered bird, a broken hand, 
a sail unfurled and rippling as it falls;

and notice how it settles — not quite falls —
onto the ground.  Our kite descended to 
a stubble-field and folded in a heap,
white struts askew and blaze-orange mylar wings

like crumpled sparrow-bones, like monarchs’ wings
torn off: a crumpled origami crane,
a surplus constellation cast away, 
consigned untraced to earth.  The accident,

the intervention of coincident
effects (a plane come burgeoning through haze,
the rumble of its engines rumpling up
the evening air before the fuselage

sailed into view, its wings and fuselage
pale silver in the silver sky, props blurred, 
the spray it dusted fluming up behind, 
the kite colliding with its wing) first shocked

and then confounded us.  We stood, both, shocked
and, watching, felt the acrid chemical 
descending through the air.  And then, our skin 
embittered with insecticide, we crossed 

the lot along the string that led across
the space we’d sought to fly a kite from, rode
the long electrocardiographic line
to terminus beneath the poisoned sky.
 
 
II A Frame

That night in Georgetown, stumbling, dinner-drunk,
out of the restaurant, into the street
and down the block in muggy summer heat,

we paused before the window of a shop
lit springtime-bright by incandescent light
through nylon kites as bright as kites

at night can be in summer’s mild twilight,
and pondered for a moment, then went in
and stood among the struts and staves and trim,

and gaped at color for its own sake, gaped 
at shapes designed to craftily beguile
the breeze to cheat earth’s gravity as well

as lift the eye aloft.  A widower 
just four months upwind of your obsequies,
and I, aggrieved as only youth could be, 

and leaving soon for college in this strange
new city—how we tore ourselves away 
and wandered out, or what we had to say,

I don’t recall — but do remember this: 
in a kite-shop in the darkening summer night
we found sufficient — we, then, there — delight.
 
 
III A Tail

A kite’s an upward embassy,
an emissary to the sky
from earth, from where we stand below
and stare up, grounded as we fly.

A kite’s a tugging of the string
that leads us upward, toward the sky.
a kite’s an answer to the thing
we asked, and then decided to let lie.

A kite’s a stay against the wind.
A kite’s a snag pulled from the sky.
A kite’s a little, leaving thing
that rises, then diminishes, then dies.
 
 
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About Gregory Loselle

Since publishing his first work, a play, at the age of eighteen, Gregory Loselle has won four Hopwood Awards at The University of Michigan, where he earned an MFA. He has also won The Academy of American Poets Prize, the William van Wert Fiction Award from Hidden River Arts, and The Ruby Lloyd Apsey Award for Playwriting. He has won the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition, The Robert Frost Award of The Robert Frost Foundation, and the Rita Dove Prize for poetry from Salem College. His chapbooks Phantom Limb, and Our Parents Dancing have been published by Pudding House Press, and a third, The Whole of Him Collected, from Finishing Line Press. His short fiction has been featured in the Wordstock anthology and The Saturday Evening Post, and his poetry has appeared in The Ledge, Oberon, The Comstock Review, Rattle, River Styx, The Spoon River Poetry Review, The Pinch, Alehouse, Sow’s Ear, The New Guard, and online in The Ambassador Poetry Project. He teaches Language Arts and Art History in Grosse Ile, Michigan, drilling his students in the distinctions between can and may, good and well.

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