Lake Effect, Spring 2010, Volume 14: The Birth of Flight

William Greenway


The Birth of Flight

Here in England, Elmer the monk,
according to the guidebook, made the “first
semi-successful attempt at flight.”
From the top of the cathedral, he flew
“several hundred yards” before he “landed”
and broke both legs.  Impatient he was
for those heavenly wings, and made his own,
hair shirt flapping above his bare ass,
tonsure glinting in the same sun that melted
the wings of Icarus.  Elmer made his leap
of faith, and the Good Lord, instead
of punishing him for his pride, like
the builders of Babel, let him down
relatively gently to limp along
like the rest of us lame and halt.