Finally Swooning
    Leah Watson

"...A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window...His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."
     James Joyce, The Dubliners

What is the word
he asked me quietly
soon after his stroke
in the midst of an eighty first
birthday party
what is the word
for an airplane
that little, little comes down?

Crashes I said,
No, fluttering his hands from aloft
slowly slowly to the table top
like ruddered wings
to demonstrate the difference.

Landing I said;
No, the hands more agitated.

Nose diving I said;
his head disagreeing.
Before the crash, before the landing
when you look up you see planes-
what is THAT word?

Losing altitude I said;
Yes. I am like a small plane
everyday losing altitude
everyday little, little...

Outside the window snowflakes
were parachuting, and I thought
of being taught in college
that Joyce's falling snow symoblized death...
an intellectual exercise then.

Leah Watson is author of a chapbook, The World Is a Wedding, and of "Siberia" (State Street Press) a book of poetry by Yiddish poet Israel Emiot which she translated into English. She lives in Rochester, New York.


In Posse: Potentially, might be ...