Almost a year before I leave
we drive along the ridge of the mountains.
Vistas keep opening up to the sky,
to the Shenandoah Valley and its farmhouses,
blue smoke rising fron their chimneys,
light filtering between branch lines.
We don’t speak of falling from this line as the landscape slips from us.
Leaves fall on the windshield,
the way light at an angle falls on the mountains,
falls from this road, blue
and near the sky.
There is a line between us and sky,
or just a road lining the curves around the blue,
or just the way I am looking straight at what I will leave,
like a lense memorizing these mountains and rays of failing daylight.
I am still passing trough that light,
seeing the same sky which is as blue as the mountains.
From a distance, the ridge’s outline
is barely visible against the sky, this afraid to leave
each other that they turn into one blue.
We stop near a cliff, blue moss covering its rock-face lightly.
This is where one of the first airplanes took off at dawn, leaving
a small gathering of people and heaving into the sky.
It soared over the valley, the lines
of its wingspan those of a mountain
bird desiring to leave the mountain
and live in the blue.
I make a straight line
for air and light,
my cloth hair steel-winged release into the sky leaving
the mountains and passing through that light.
A deepening blue ridge falls beneath me, unhinged from the sky.
It is the outline of a woman’s body, my own reflection I leave.
Suzette Bishop is a teacher at Texas A & M International University in Laredo. She received a doctorate of arts in creative writing from the State University of New York at Albany, a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Virginia, and a bachelor of arts from Oberlin College. She received an Honorable Mention from the Academy of American Poets, and an Oberlin fellowship for women writers. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and have been nominated for the AWP Intro Journals Project and the Pushcart Prize. She has given local poetry readings as well as readings at the New York State Women's Studies Conference and the South Central Modern Language Association Conference. She has also assisted at a Texas prison in submitting students' work for publication, and given creative writing workshops for senior citizens, homeless teenagers and children in an after-school arts program.
She won a prestigious international award in 2003: The May Swenson Poetry Award which included hardcover publication. The winner book is She Took Off Her Wings and Shoes. Foreword by Alicia Ostriker