It is a little over a year since a family friend – only a few years older than me – took his life by jumping in front of a train. I wrote the poem “Silent Screams” in response to his death, and also dedicated my collection of poems, “Imperceptible Arms”, to his memory. It has been a while since my writing here has dealt with issues of mental health, but the memory of my friend’s death and my own ongoing struggles with mental illness have prompted me to revisit these ideas. May God’s presence and grace be with everyone who knows these same struggles.
The Meaning of Flight In dreams I am encumbered, like legs have lost their firmness and cannot move of their own accord, as though I must lever myself along the ground with arms ill-equipped for this purpose. On ground, awake, I move freely, bound only by time, gravity, injury, the limits of body and strength – only shackled by the weight of mind making each lap, each step a motion further sometimes into the ground. And in dreams of flight, my unbound state terrifies; I soar too quick across the tops of trees and fling into the air where nothing can contain my motion. Bound, I am weighed down, but free – I am without weight, without – what? The anchor needed to give meaning to my flight? Angel with sunken wings that atrophy beneath a sunken gaze – look up to where the sun dances in starshower and the fraught geometry of time and space are rendered nothing in your living, endless, ever-purposed flight.