Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

How High

on the train,
i glide past tree tops at eye level
and wonder if this
is the highest i’ll ever soar.
i always imagined myself closer to the sun
so that my rich hershey kiss skin
could toast like almonds
while still remaining sweet;
so for once i could feel the air
and rest my tired feet.

in my head when i lay down for bed,
my pillows transform into clouds
as i float away for hours
that only last for minutes.
i wake up with the desire to travel again,
rub my eyes and hope i’ll see the sky
surrounding me for more than
fleeting moments in window seats of trains,
looking out at tree tops
hoping that my time in the air
will be higher up in the atmosphere
and that it will stretch for longer
than a few train stops.

i want to float all around,
not just between here and there,
spending too much time underground
so my eyes sting from simple things
like the sun when skies are clear.
the green leaves seem too bright
because my eyes have gotten used to night.
i want white, yellow, orange and blue
to be comforting for my eyes to see
i want to talk to eagles when they land
and ask them if they remember me
and when they reply “yes,”
i want them to beg me to fly once more,
to join them in a place
where i don’t have to be confined
by doors.

it’s hard to ignore
while i sit looking out of the window,
observing the world around me
that i am bigger than
all of the trees that surround me,
taller than everything
that tries so hard to ground me
and meant to elevate to wherever the wind goes.
so as i wonder if the train tracks are the highest
i’ll ever soar
i can confidently say, the answer is no
and that these wings of mine
will carry me to see so much more.


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