10-Line Tuesday

May 22, 2018

the pantomime of flight

On the third floor of a Los Angeles apartment building in 1983, my grandfather
introduced me to the unicycle. Certain afternoons, he'd position himself
near a plastic potted plant, his arms suspended mid-air like heron wings
while I fumbled and tumbled down the length of a carpeted hallway. I never
got the hang of it, but the glee of my attempts never left my grandfather's face, 
and years later, on a cracked tennis court in New Hampshire, I saw him
on the far side of the net as I cajoled myself to try again. He had been gone two decades,
but my legs, undaunted, kept aiming for the pedals, my body tilted toward
the unnameable distance between here and there, the pantomime of flight
lifting my shoulders skyward, and my hands, turning into his hands, turning into birds.