Joe Kittinger at 103,000 Feet

Prepare to ascend the porch steps,
four boards up from the red brick walk
a landing half in sun,
place your hand on the doorknob,
you are one step from
the silence of unfamiliar rooms.
There is no hand holding
at this edge,
no comfort from the inflated faith
of two people stepping out.
But before that first step
think about Joe Kittinger
at the edge of his gondola,
above him the immense silver wrapping
of his balloon, past that
an enormous darkness packed tight
with the invisible trajectories
and girdered equations that hold us together.
At the creak of your weight
on the first porch step
resist the temptation to look back,
there is nothing there now,
but think of Joe Kittinger
at the top of the world
convinced that his parachutes
would open like white lilies above him.  
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