Instructions for Flying – Adeline Koscher

Best to start on a ridge. If there are none near by, stand in an open door; lean out. Lift your arms up and back, hands just past your hips. Lift your chin. Lift, so just your toes touch the earth. Fill your lungs beach-ball full of blue. Take one more sip of this ground-wind. Don’t close your eyes. People tend to close their eyes. Don’t run. Don’t jump. Don’t flap. Be still. Then, rise.

Hold that ball of air in the cage of bone and skin. Hold it as long as you can. It will make you light. It will lift you up. Bit by bit, mile by mile, drop each weight – sad sacs: fear, toil, shame, grief. You must shed these, or they will ground you. If the knot is too tight, cut it loose. Cut it with your teeth.

Once the weight is gone, once your toes won’t brush the tops of the trees – the tall trees – then, you may breathe out. You are light now. The air is thin. You are air at heart. Glide – kip – dive – dip – soar – tuck – roll – drift – flit – float – stall – fall – flip – twist – spin – loop – swoop – sweep – pause – – – rise.

In time, you might long for the earth. Some do. You might long for sweet peas, for dirt, for moss. You might think you want a floor and a roof. You might want the scent of skin, the taste of sweat. If so, you may go back to the ground. If you wish, tie the weights back on. Their smudge, their smear, is still on your skin. Ball it up. Pack it tight. Tie one to each toe. You’ll need more of them, than you did. Your bones are more air, now, less bone. More heft is needed. This load will bring you down.

When you land, your toes will hit the earth quite hard. Quite hard. It will hurt. Once you land, the weights will fix you to the earth. They will ground you. You will feel the pull on your spine, on your heart. You have been air so long that your lungs will strain, your head will ache. But you will have sweet peas, moss, dirt. You will have a floor and a roof. Take care not to bump your head. “It is low,” you will think, “The roof was not this low, once.”

You do not have to land; some choose not to. For some, the earth seems so odd, so far. Drunk on the breeze, some don’t want to go back. They stay in the air, in the sky. Each day – a bit more wind, a bit less flesh.


About the Author: Adeline Carrie Koscher lives on Cape Cod where she crafts strange, little works of fiction and poetry as a conduit for wonder, solace, and vitality. When writing, she is the happiest person alive. Her writing is suffused with that joy. Her work can be found in Review Americana, The Lyon Review, Adana, Altered States, ninepatch, and Zetetic and was named the 2017 regional winner of the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest.

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