Leonardo Da Vinci, took
his place across the tiny aisle
from me, and buckled
the belt of his seat.
I was certain it was him.
Too timid to speak,
I listened as he told
the attendant in the
he was returning
from a long overdue visit
with his kid sister in Phoenix.
The New Mexico sun
stayed red and settled upon
the bareness of his cheeks.
The layover at Kennedy had
granted him just enough time
to grab a Coke and a slice.
He studied the movements of
her calves carefully as she
trolled ahead in the cabin,
gauging all of the tender
architectures of her sway.
Sketching upon his napkin,
sipped his orange juice, and
leaned back into a reverie.
Beneath his hair, wiry and limp,
Against the raggedy blanket of his beard,
I could almost hear the notes
of machines assembling in his head.
The gears and wings, the
rockets and parachutes, the
motions that made the
birds lift skyward, and those
contraptions of battle
that would live to eclipse
horse and sword and shield.
Traipsing the heights of
the atmospheric perspective,
describe Earth’s lights reflected
against the cold black of the Moon.
Devoted as I have been to the
celebration of life’s soft edges.
I thought to touch his shoulder,
hoping we might speak.
I longed to understand the
miracles of chisel at stone, how the
oily applications of ground pigments,
became lambency and shadow,
The virgin he settled among the rocks.
The tenderness in the eyes of his angels.
The satin cheeks of the Italianate ladies.
The despair of Jerome in his wilderness.
Judas clutching his purse on the wall in Milan.
The mounts of his imagination in pitched battle.
Soon, my time had past, our dinners arrived,
and I was left to the contentments of flight
and a wandering, wondering mind.
Below us the ascending cloud mountains,
below them, the dappled cerulean sea.