White the Cessna’s body under young sun,
a band of brown around the fuselage and tail,
when I took a seat inside that cold day
and placed the headset on my ears.
The pilot parted plane from tarmac
–a bubble from a boiling pot,
a hole that sank inside my gut–
and circling up we met the sky.
From above it seemed a flat and broad field
of boulders veined with snow and navy-tinted pines,
not the mountain known to me from firm ground
with peaks that towered, rigid cones,
and ancient faces painted navy.
Rugged country passed beneath our craft when
the tower notified of traffic aft and low.
When that aircraft went behind a sharp ridge,
my pilot circled ’round to search.
The headset crackled, “See ‘im down there?”
From serrate cliffs that silver dot
at length emerged above the ground.
“That traffic’s out at ten o’ clock.”
“Just to know our buddy’s with us still,” said
the pilot, turning back to place us on our course.
Over country masked by glacial fields roared
our Cessna–many miles more–
till circling down between the cloud-breaks
(from heaven falls an angel gone
to tread the Earth with mortal man)
my expedition’s just begun.