On Flying
Despy Boutris

On Flying

It’s early morning, the sky
still a misty pink, remnants 

of steam still coating the surface

of the lake. You & I sit 
at the shoreline, our hands digging

into the sand, toes dipping 

into the murky water, gazes fixed
to anything but each other.

I don’t know if it’s safe

to show you the want
in my liner-rimmed eyes. The sun 

has risen in the East 

&, with the light of day, we forget
how to touch. Because now

my heart is a fluttering thing,

a broken-winged hummingbird
or swallow, my breath

jagged as city skylines. I part

my lips to tell you about the time,
years & years ago,

when I tied a bouquet of balloons

to my back & jumped
from the tree still standing

just behind us, past the field

of grass. How I flew 
for just a second before falling.

Despy Boutris

has contributed to Guernica, Copper Nickel, Ploughshares, Crazyhorse, AGNI, American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Colorado Review, and other magazines. She lives in California and serves as editor-in-chief of The West Review.