M. Soledad Caballero
Reading time: approximately 3 minutes
"Gravity Haunted" originally appeared in Issue 15 of Tahoma Literary Review. For me, what poet M. Soledad Caballero has accomplished in this prose sonnet form is a pensive reflection of interior travel. Through time, space, memory, and emotion, from ancient myth to modern experience, I was surprised and thrilled by the journey in this work. I hope you will be as well.
Before any flight our hearts beat hot, a furnace of red, blazing.
This, too, is prayer against the engines of the plane, against the
madness of a gravity that wins against reason and lifts the plane
while I close my eyes in wonder, petrified at the truth of science
and its tentacles. Beloved, we have lived this dance together for two
decades. You still tell me stories of Odysseus and his shipwrecked heart.
The way the gods always punish and also reward the traveler.
You whisper to me about battles of water and blood and half imagined
dreams, when whole ships plunged into the mouth of the ocean, when
Poseidon flung them across the dark mirror of the sea. Yes, you try, offer
me the stories of other bodies and other scars, as if they are a wish. But
when I think of flying, I imagine Penelope who knew travel cost her
all the love she had, all the men the Cyclops ate. And I remember
I have danced with gravity since I was a girl fleeing a dark, slender country.
reprinted with the permission of the poet
M. Soledad Caballero had this to say about "Gravity Haunted":
This poem is one of fifteen prose sonnets I am working on about my fear of flying. For me, flying is emotionally draining, and it feels simultaneously unnatural and supernatural. Even though I was only a child, I still vividly remember the flight from Chile to Oklahoma, the flight of my immigration to the US. Recently, my husband and I have been rereading the Odyssey together; bodies traveling in that world are at risk and in danger and pain all the time. Traveling in this poem is brutal. This poem emerged out of this rereading and my anxieties.
M. Soledad Caballero, Professor of English at Allegheny College, is a scholar and poet whose work focuses on British Romanticism, Interdisciplinarity, the Cognitive Humanities, and Poetry.