On the Concorde to Paris
by Patricia Behrens
Everyone measured your recovery
from what they’d done: the surgeon, from surgery;
the oncologist, from chemo; the radiologist,
from radiation’s end.
When, by all their counts, it was a year
you were cleared to travel. Though
no one could say how you’d react to altitude
with one lung gone.
You decided to test it on the Concorde at Mach 2.
We cashed in all our miles to fly Air France
to Paris. At JFK, we found the first class lounge
for coffee and croissants.
Outside the long-necked, flared-wing Concorde
perched like a sea bird. At boarding the crew, seeing
your slow gait, switched us to the prime front seat
behind the Machmeter.
We watched the eastern coastline fall away,
saw for the first time the curvature of the earth,
the blue planet. We tracked the Machmeter
toward Mach 1
in undiluted sun, silently slipped through
the sound barrier, went supersonic and entered
Earth’s upper stratosphere, where we celebrated
breath in its thin fine air.
Copyright © 2017 by Patricia Behrens.