SLEEPING ON THE WING frank ohara Perhaps it is to avoid some great sadness, as in a Restoration tragedy the hero cries "Sleep! O for a long sound sleep and so forget it!" that one flies, soaring above the shoreless city, veering upward from the pavement as a pigeon does when a car honks or a door slams, the door of dreams, life perpetuated in parti-colored loves and beautiful lies all in different languages. Fear drops away too, like the cement, and you are over the Atlantic. Where is Spain? where is who? The Civil War was fought to free the slaves, was it? A sudden down-draught reminds you of gravity and your position in respect to human love. But here is where the gods are, speculating, bemused. Once you are helpless, you are free, can you believe that? Never to waken to the sad struggle of a face? to travel always over some impersonal vastness, to be out of, forever, neither in nor for! The eyes roll asleep as if turned by the wind and the lids flutter open slightly like a wing. The world is an iceberg, so much is invisible! and was and is, and yet the form, it may be sleeping too. Those features etched in the ice of someone loved who died, you are a sculptor dreaming of space and speed, your hand alone could have done this. Curiosity, the passionate hand of desire. Dead, or sleeping? Is there speed enough? And, swooping, you relinquish all that you have made your own, the kingdom of your self sailing, for you must awake and breathe your warmth in this beloved image whether it's dead or merely disappearing, as space is disappearing and your singularity.