Space Between Skies in Athens, NY

by Shannon Cuthbert

I walk a street of municipal buildings lined in friezes,
Tiny metal men doing fantastical tasks
Like holding up the sky itself.
Seeking a bar, and another,
I am pressed-upon by rows of Victorians 
With those stained glass windows
I used to watch the world from,
Sitting in church clutching Grandpa’s hand
And watching my soul float above all those hats.
Here where street lamps hum
With gases since outlawed,
And capture moths that have flown a great distance
From the old-growth forest just for a whiff.
Here I lift the hem of my dress an inch
And step off the street.
Like these winged things
Haloing the hot whiskey of my breath,
I alight, skirt the dark gem of the Hudson.
Like the nun who raised her arms and soared,
I stood here once before,
On a bridge watching sailors’ heads
Blink on and off like searchlights.
Wondered at what point air would seize me,
Lift me up and up should I,
Disembodied, turn comet, or gas.

Photo by Jesse Gardner