Winner of the 2004 Shakespeare At Play Poetry Contest


By Joseph T. Lopez
You learn to fly, 1972,
flung from the Beetle
because the door didn't latch.
Between car, gravel and sky
do you gain insight
into a two year old's life?
It’s the space in which God bears children
bet even God obeys gravity,
so your lesson cuts short,
crash and burn at the side of the road.

I sit alone in the car
at the side of the road,
car doors open like startled wings.
It’s the space in which destinies are forged.
You launch into unscheduled danger,
I stay safe in the back seat,
watch events unfold,
our young mother's red-faced panic
as she picks her baby up,
her tears drop into blood and gravel on your face.
Nothing seems broken,
you're conscious
thank God you’re alive and conscious.

You take flight again, 1981,
flip onto your bike handlebars
when you hit an unexpected pothole.
Between bike, pavement and sky
does enlightenment flash
in an eleven year old's life?
It’s the space in which God nudges consequence
but again: God obeys gravity
so your next lesson ends
fractured collarbone, tear blurred stagger home.

I sit in front of Saturday cartoons
when you come home,
leave the door open like a broken wing.
It’s the space in which we’re divided:
those who thrive and those who live complacent.
You tumble into unscheduled agony,
I stay safe in televised fantasy,
listen to events unfold,
our middle-aged father asks what happened,
vague concern surges to alarm
Mom and Dad bustle you to the hospital,
leave me to baby sit
bring you back bandaged, bone reset.

In 1990 you remain aloft,
enroll in flight lessons,
pilot single engine planes.
Between Earth, sky and God
do you ruminate
on the meaning of Life?
It’s the space in which God celebrates,
instructs utilization of physical laws
watches us strive and excel.

I sit at my desk,
strive through words
to expand like open wings.
It’s the space in which admiration fosters inspiration.
You lift off smooth into the wind.
I stay secure on the ground,
watch events unfold,
you become a young father,
raise a daughter long distance,
divorce, work long hours,
teach others to pilot single engine planes,
persist in the realization of your dreams
and show me what’s possible to survive.