Surface Tension

A little poem inspired by Henri Cartier-Bresson’s famous image, Behind the Gare St. Lazare, 1932.

Surface Tension

Defying gravity, hanging between earth and eighteen-percent sky
A blurry cartoon man looks and leaps and never lands
The take-off hurried
but so graceful that it leaves just a ripple witness and hat firmly fixed.
A shadow hangs below—his, if experience can be trusted and photographs don’t lie— ever threatening to connect the reflected with the reflection.
A “Do Not Walk” silhouette sign in greyscale where
fiery flashing red should be.

The sensible figure observes, comforting the fence behind,
a watcher, not a risker.
Will he have no brave story of his own
but settle for singing another man’s song?

The gravity-defier will never settle
Content to hover and fly, tantalizing a puddle
He has learned through the years the science of water and the art of birds
Born in steam-time, he embraces weightless the world of wonders
Rare-earth magnetic heels repelling the mirror planet below him

The station
Surface tension.