My father dove through the sky 19 times—
once while I watched.
No more than four, I only remember his last ten feet
and then ground, the parachute like a dress around him.
Now, on a drive up to Sacandaga Lake:
a diver swimming down toward the trees,
lazily falling like a belated gift.
The colors of his fall were an amusement park,
his chute a ferris wheel and his body a lollipop.
He said, He’s an amateur;
the trained like to dance in the sky,
playing all the way down—flips, tricks.
(At 10: With an umbrella, he jumped off the roof,
trying to fly. Broke leg, mother’s nerves.)
I always took the first jump, with anything;
none of my kids are that way.
It’s true—I will never fall from a plane.
A roller coaster drops my stomach,
no recovery from Down to Up.
It’s too fast for that, your insides unaware.
You drop your hands from the side of the plane
and you feel like you’re floating—
you’re actually just going down, too quickly.
You don’t even know that you’re falling.
A familiar feeling.