by Alan Buckley
The aerialist swings up and out, beyond
the proscenium arch. She reaches the dead
point of pure weightlessness, hair rippling
outwards, lets go of the corde volante.
We catch our breath: for a heartbeat body
and rope are floating apart, electric air
between them. Later, she’ll smile – Whatever
you choose to think, I cannot fly. I fall professionally –
but the woman above us now is not the one
with tied-back hair and calloused hands,
who carefully checks the shackles and silks
before the audience comes. She has vanished,
as we all have: briefly released
from our fragile, selfish weight.
(previously published in the anthology Hand Luggage Only, Open Poetry 2008)
Alan Buckley‘s pamphlet Shiver (tall-lighthouse) was a Poetry Book Society choice, and he was shortlisted for the inaugural Picador Poetry Prize in 2010. He has recently been published in the anthology Days of Roses II. He works in Oxford as a school writer-in-residence for the charity First Story.