Gravity

Bulbous, and for a moment
floating on a palm, the fine dry-cleaning bag
fills with air lighter than air
and begins ascending like a bright idea.

Above us, the striped McDonald’s straws
we lashed and studded with birthday candles
hold a reticle against the sky.
Weightlessness is the target

at which we’ve fired this taut balloon,
jittering as it passes the pointed tips
of fir trees in the lawn, then clears
the cat’s cradle of telephone wires.

A slight wind steers it over rows
of sided homes, where it drips its dainty
tears of fire onto the rooftops
until a gust collapses the bag, as anyone

might have expected, and a slack comet
falls out of sight. A light
ticks on in the house across the street,
but otherwise our handiwork seems

to have altered nothing. A sheer cloud
hides and shows the moon, like lace.
And a siren, too far off to worry us,
warps through the clean night air.

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman is the author of Petty Theft, winner of The New Criterion Poetry Prize. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford University, he is also the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He lives with his wife and son in Syracuse.
Nicholas Friedman

Latest posts by Nicholas Friedman (see all)

Author: Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman is the author of Petty Theft, winner of The New Criterion Poetry Prize. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford University, he is also the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He lives with his wife and son in Syracuse.