by Laura Parker Roerden

Every night now the swallows
fall and rise over the hayfield,
slicing the sky as if skinning it open
to feed on insects.

I can imagine DaVinci must have seen them.
His drawings of flying machines spoke of
curved elegance; of momentum that turns
planes of existence upside, down.

of alacrity, and dreams made visible
by wind; aloft a spark of heart applied
to mathematics that unified computation,

that brought us to soar impossibly
off a beach in North Carolina—to step on the moon;
though he held only a simple pencil to paper
fueled by a simple curiosity for knowing.

Our ancestor’s myths rose like birds and
connected us to truth as sinew,
told us of our place in clan,
in dirt and cosmos.

But modern myths divide us.
They take off as false words and ideas

—unreal facts crumbled in

angry knuckles of hate.

They do nothing to open hope’s heart;
They do not flip the trigger in your throat
that speaks only of the rising and falling
and dawn that is now;

DaVinci was said to buy birds at market
And set them free.

What would he think of the
cages we now willingly enter;
of the cages we deny exist?

Yes, these myths keep us from knowing;
they separate us from the land and each other
like a knife expertly removes bone
from flesh. If we accept it in hand,

we will never be free like the swallow.

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