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Antioch, CA, 1981-2, Alameda, CA, 1983-2012

I never flew into that little airport;
it’s gone now, bulldozed, houses built,
but back then, Charlie said, final approach
was over a tree-covered hill: clear the trees,
cut power, rapid descent
to the narrow runway; too daring
for me, wanting tamer destinations
for my solo flights.

Early years with him: sunrise flight lessons
before work, first solo and first kiss
on the same day, weekend trips
through sunlit skies over green fields,
following rivers, highways, train tracks
below; destination always freefall into bed.

After his death, a former flight student,
smiling at Charlie’s humor,
told me he once was supposed to land
at Antioch, but hadn’t climbed high enough
to be above the trees; Charlie asked
if he was planning on flying
around them or through them.

He’s been gone a year and a half now;
after those sunny years, we made
a slow descent
into an unhappy marriage,
a bad landing we barely survived.
Then and now, I wish we’d found
a way around the trees.