‘The Aerialist’ by Cheryl Pearson


She married the heir
was what they said. I was four,
already in love
with the ballroom’s cornices,
the bride’s dress.
What I heard was married the air.
I chose my future then.

The air is a good provider.
He has given me one house
of sky, one house
of silk. I love
his hands in my hair. He loves
my untouched arches.

Every night we enter
the bell-tent together. We ride
the risen heat, higher
than rain or angels.
The crowd are loving sunflowers.

They leave their diets at the perimeter.
Their spider plants, privets,
and patio furniture.

They are curious. Who can blame them?
Also: roundly jealous. Faithful air,
glittering pendulum. We are the bright horizon.
We marry their earth, their heaven.
Cheryl Pearson is the author of Oysterlight (Pindrop Press, 2017) and Menagerie (The Emma Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in publications including The Guardian, The Moth, Mslexia, and The Interpreter’s House, and she has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives and writes in the Peak District. Twitter @cherylpea