- The Couple on the Plane Flying from Western North Carolina, and: There Is Music in My Head
The Couple on the Plane Flying from Western North Carolina
She was a boulder he put his arm around because she wasa cub, orphaned and unable, needing tending. She wasa bale to tote and the bundled wool, furrowed, rawas a Piedmont cotton boll. He put his face in her hairand the mountains rose from the bowl of the valley.I saw them. He swung an arm under her hip to set her down right,to center her. She rolled into the slim bend of him like a continentreturned to the break, seeming itself seamlessly. She sleptthat way. And he slept, his body half upon her in the narrowtube of the plane, not meant for such displays, wherethe body is ordered into constraints meant for a child.She wore an extra seat belt and him securing her further.With his eyes closed I saw the weather beneath them.She was a mile-wide twister and he the calm insidewaiting. She was the moon by which he determinedwhen to plow and what to grow and when to harvestpumpkin for the fair. A boundless almanac of pagesfingered into softness. Of course there was tearing,inadvertent but marking the book nonetheless. Herreliability never questioned. She was the sourceof his pleasure. A hard man needing somethingsofter. Someone whose hands would lie unveinedupon the leather of him. Take the sting from the belt.Quake the memories of an ungenerous motherfrom the porch. She was a tree whose great canopyrelieved him, stood between him and the blinding sun.What gave him such sight? Who were we to look? [End Page 68]
There Is Music in My Head
where before there was only silence. Strings being bowed and plucked.Feet tapping. Hands knead against a board. A pounding staff.Call and yelp. Water a-gurgle. There’s a music in my head like a clearing in the woods.Do you hear it? Lips on the flute. Winding through the reeds. I was lost, so lost,the path too thin to follow. It was dark. Couldn’t see a damn thing in those pines. Butnow the blue-green day brings its sound of honeysuckle and mushroom. The slim treesbend and beckon. The naked clover wants to be touched. Everything clusters and bursts.The notes scale the hollow. The notes run to the ridge, then over they fall, water downthe rocks like a laughing, like a laughing. The bow goes over and under. A fiddling.A fondling of butterflies in the hint of spring. The first bee in the clutch of the sweet. I amsinging my way out. I am singing my way out of the brickyards, from the stones.Listen for me in the clearing. I can’t keep this to myself. [End Page 69]
vievee francis is the author of Horse in the Dark and Blue-Tail Fly. Her work has been published in numerous journals, textbooks, and anthologies, including Poetry, The Best American Poetry, and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of African American Poetry. She is currently an associate editor for Callaloo: A Premier Journal of African Diaspora Arts & Letters, a visiting professor in the undergraduate writing program at Warren Wilson College, and a new faculty member for the low-residency MFA program at Pacific University.