On afternoons like this, the doors left wide open,
the wind bullying the clouds across the sky,
my mind turns to that kite we made
together, a crate less inclined to fly
than to crash, I thought, a crude
bamboo cross lashed together with string
and placed on the table while we prepared the skin -
brown wrapping paper varnished and allowed to dry.
Already it seemed too fraught, too highly strung to withstand
what it must - those full-bodied, tub-thumping gusts of wind
that raged outside making a mockery
of the garden. But we - no, I - was wrong, the kite soon
found its airy element, translucent when it caught sun.
Never one to aim too high, I needed anchorage,
terra firma, footholds more than fancy,
though I confess once it took flight, like you, I
felt the pull of some other language,
a febrile thrill translated down the line
when the wind tried to wrest the kite from my grip.
To make something of nothing, to give shape
and embody a blunt force I could feel
only at one remove, to create and to cull,
the string scything through the indivisible
wind. On afternoons like this I still
hear the line singing
when the wind was at its height and the string
pulled taut, a shrill treble that frayed
at the edge when the wind slackened off.
We were instruments being played,
lending a voice to the wind, one rooted in the earth.