A Leap

Don Bogen

That dog springing         for the plastic disk snapped                  from the skinny girl'swrist is so         exquisitely focused                  he seems to stop time.There is no thought         in his action I                  can see, no deliberation:he doesn't decide         to jump, rather                  the leap carries him,I think, walking         across the park.                  His fierce eyes,which are him now,         lock on the spinning thing                  comprehensivelyas it hovers on         its angled swoop,                  and they pull his whole bodyforward under it, shifting         and slowing his pace till                  the last sprint andtakeoff headed precisely         where the disk                  will be, the eyesnavigating every part of him         against gravity.                  At the top of his leaphe has no purchase         on the air                  and drops, wrenchinghis body off         the very last ripple                  of inertiato seize it.         I catch this only once—                  blond girl, red disk,spotted white dog—         but carry it                  with me like a videoand slow it and replay it         as the dog, I imagine,                  runs the disk back foranother toss, and another.         Now it is no longer                  a video butan object I can revolve         in my mind, a crystal                  glinting in endlesslyevolving facets.         It is light, it is                  gleaming, it is not abstractbut it dips into         possibilities, each with                  a thicket of consequences—what is it, what is         it becoming as                  it floats and turnsin my thoughts?         There is no gravity                  here, but I feelan urgency, something         inevitably slipping                  away, though,suspended, it seems         to have all the time                  in the world.My steps are balanced,         I am setting a pace:                  my goal is the post office,but I carry         this with me, slathered                  in words now, ridingthe two-beat rhythm         of my steps, I am                  carrying it, revolving it,I am carrying it in my mouth.

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Headshot of Don Bogen

Don Bogen is the author of five books of poetry, including Immediate Song (Milkweed Editions, 2019). His poems have appeared recently in The Yale Review, Agni, and other journals. An emeritus professor at the University of Cincinnati, he splits his time between Cincinnati and Martinez, California. More at www.donbogen.com.

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