Ascension Day

by Christine Penko

On good days
it appears we are all ascending.
Our spouses,
beginning to complain about something or other,
pick up the soggy dish-sponge instead.
The mail arrives on time.
We look at our children’s homework
and notice their spelling has improved.

The fog lifts.
An outline of a not distant island becomes clear.
We decide to forgo the second martini,
the last piece of chocolate cake.

There’s a sweet lightness—
familiar yet surprisingly new.
Just when we thought newness
a thing of our past, it rises,
a pale balloon floating
toward air unable to sustain us.
Yet we turn our faces upward,
fixed on the trajectory of ascent,
as if our lives depended on it.

—from Thunderbirds (used by permission of Christine Penko)

Poem of the Month: May 2015

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