For an Earth-Landing by Erica Jong

the sky sinks its blue teeth
into the mountains.

Rising on pure will

(the lurch & lift-off,
the sudden swing
into wide, white snow),

I encourage the cable.

Past the wind
& crossed tips of my skis
& the mauve shadows of pines
& the spoor of bears
& deer,

I speak to my fear,

rising, riding,
finding myself

the only thing
between snow & sky,

the link
that holds it all together.

Halfway up the wire,
we stop,
slide back a little
(a whirr of pulleys).

Astronauts circle above us today
in the television blue of space.

But the thin withers of alps
are waiting to take us too,
& this might be the moon!

We move!

Friends, this is a toy
merely for reaching mountains

merely
for skiing down.

& now we're dangling
like charms on the same bracelet

or upsidedown tightrope people
(a colossal circus!)

or absurd winged walkers,
angels in animal fur,

with mittened hands waving
& fear turning

& the mountain
like a fisherman,

reeling us all in.

So we land
on the windy peak,
touch skis to snow,
are married to our purple shadows,
& ski back down
to the unimaginable valley

leaving no footprints.

by Erica Jong

Other poems by 'Erica Jong'

After the Earthquake

Autobiographical

Autumn Perspective

Beast, Book, Body

Climbing You

Colder

Dear Colette

Flying at Forty

Henry James in the Heart of the City

Letter to My Lover After Seven Years