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ANTI-GRAVITY MAN by Charles P. Ries

He tried to fill the hole – find
the center of what fell out of him
fifteen minutes before midnight
on the day he was born.

It was his benign tumor. A sickness
that wouldn’t kill him. At night,
before sleep entered his room,
before twilight clouds brushed
his eyes closed, he’d reach
inside and wonder why he was
made this way. A mutation with an
unnatural lightness of being.

His condition went undetected except
when the wind blew through him,
causing his shirt to billow like a sail,
and a high-pitched whistle to emit from
within him. A sound only a dog’s ears
could detect.

To himself, he was invisible:
tissue paper thin, weightless and
lacking substance. Most days he
felt he wasn’t even standing on
earth. But he wanted to.

He theorized that a heart must hold the
universe and weigh ten thousand
pounds. It is a heart that keeps
feet on the floor.

Nothing mattered to this untethered,
floating pilgrim but finding a cure
for his gaping hole. A yearning he
did not acknowledge until the day
he became firmly rooted in her.

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It happens each early summer.
She backs off her anti-depressants,
thinking more UV rays can substitute
for her drugs. She comes out swinging,
determined to reclaim what is
rightfully hers.

For a day or a week she’s a warrior,
but quickly fades into a humble,
tumble, pile of bewilderment. (It’s
hard to sustain determination on
just sunlight. Warmth alone isn’t
enough to help you think straight

Following her short freedom flight,
she becomes earth bound, a cloud
that hovers low against a county trunk
road – a vaporous curtain that flattens
and abducts you.

 But you drive on, and eventually pass
through it, through her. And bring her to
a small hill where you ask her to look
a great distance and remember tomorrow
or yesterday or her true nature with the ease
of her winter fresh mind.

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