Angela France

It wasn't sudden; not a penny
dropping, nor an apple falling from a tree
sort of moment.

At first, just little bounces while no-one
watched. Then long strides; longer,
a lighter hold on heel, ball, toe.

Hedges were easy to clear; walls,
buildings, required more belief.
Moonless nights hid clumsy
hops and jumps, cloaked
tangles with trees and telephone wires.

My first thoughtless soar ended
in daylight on a car park roof; left
me shaken, possibilities fizzing
under my skin. I toured the town,
roof to roof. Up. Tower blocks,
multi-storeys. Higher. A strong kick
took me up to scatter astonished gulls;
I pulled faces at jet pilots, sent them screaming
back to base for assessment. I played
peek-a-boo behind the billowed curve
of a hot air balloon.

Then it started. Pot-shots from hunters,
clay pigeon shooters, boys with air-guns.
I ducked a bolt from a high-tech crossbow
and caught in my hand a slow arrow
from a costumed archer. Dodging
and diving, I survived the day. At dusk
I exhaled, drifted down to a rocky
beach; filled my pockets with pebbles,
found a back-pack, stuffed it with stones.

Now, I don't buy close fitting
clothes, can't go out without a bag.
I recognise other weighted women
by the shape of their ballast, the careful
balance of each step. We exchange
looks, move on. We know
what we could do.

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