Ascension – a poem by Ann Wehrman


“Can you see the birds?”
I asked, speaking
timidly to strangers
“Up there, really,
so small now, I can’t see them myself…”

at first, clean, fluid formation
of gulls or white ducks,
over twenty in close unison
the birds startled me, flying so
high, almost out of sight, then seemed to
disappear, leaving only sunflick spots of white
to tantalize, torture my aging eyes

the couple in the pool
giant African-American man
giant white woman
cradled their tiny, delicate blossom of a daughter
on a tube, languid in the warm
pool, empty but for them and me
by some miraculous fortune
in 100-degree heat

cool and relaxed
I’d swum my obligatory laps
in company so unlike the usual
screaming horde of kids
that I wanted to spend the entire afternoon
at least do another 20 laps
just to stay, feeling
as cared for as their baby girl

looking up, floating on my back
I saw twenty or thirty specks, in formation
white as bones, as porcelain, as edelweiss
folding in on each other
as one stirs a chocolate mousse
trails a beaded, fringed scarf
wraps a child in cashmere or hand weave
pleats a loaf before kneading it more—

they flew in high azure
in and out of sight
until I wondered if I’d seen them at all
or only hallucinated
their pure dance under the scorching sun

the man says,
“I see them, look there,” points
and she echoes, “Yes, up there,”
but by then, I no longer see them

Ann Wehrman teaches English composition and related courses online for University of Phoenix and Ashford University.  She has published individual poems, literary reviews, and short fiction in college journals and small presses.  She can also be found cooking, teaching yoga, or playing her flute.

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