It always had required
a girding of the mind,
even for the newer
To step here, then after
a few hours' confinement
to step there--it rested
on agreement
that we could. The fearful,
whose minds would not concur,
steeled them or stayed away
so as not to
trap the rest aloft with
less than a full cargo
of belief. So it was
until Tuesday.
We practiced rituals
about water landings
and who had packed our bags
and we shuttered
the windows and complained
about the strange small trays
and the strange companions. There was always
someone up there somewhere,
practicing the rites of
radar and alloys and
and this protected all
of us, the fact of the
unbroken, unspoken
chain letter from
one transfer to the next.
Since Tuesday, we cannot
send hope to twenty friends,
or add our names
(simply by arriving
safely) to the end of
the list of those to whom
hopes have returned.
We are interrupted--
already we have steeled
our minds and vowed to fly
again, even
though what we practiced to
protect ourselves has been
undone by other rites.
We are betrayed,
have seen belief return
against us, collapsing
us except for courage.
That we have, but
from this broken steel we
barely knew sustained us,
how can we once again
build certainty?

Cyd Harrell, September 16, 2001. All rights reserved.
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