She would never have jumped alone and seeing
the world like an immense crevice she might
have abandoned the tandem jump if the
instructor hadn’t had Greek god genes. He
smiled at her reassuringly, she nodded
and they were off, her fear turned to delight
with the motorcycle which gravity
had given them. She approved his delay
in pulling the cord. Then she realised he
was pulling the cord. She’d picked Icarus
instead of a god. “Keep calm,” he yelled. Next,
more quietly, “Sorry.” She scanned the ground for
haystacks piled ten high. She looked up and caught
a glimpse of the plane, a mocking feather.

David Beach was born in England in 1959 to New Zealand parents who returned (with him) to New Zealand when he was five. From 1986 to March 2002 he lived in Sydney, since then back in Wellington. His poems have been quite widely published in Australia, without editors overdoing it. Since returning to New Zealand he has had poems published in the New Zealand ListenerPoetry New ZealandJAAM, and Takahe.

Beach comments: ‘From time to time I have flown in a plane, mostly between Wellington and Sydney, but have never jumped out of one. “Parachute” is from a group of “attack sonnets”, where the idea was to write something energy high, sensibility unobtrusive. Yeats’ “Leda and the Swan” was a key poem. Banjo Paterson’s “The Man from Snowy River” also opened the door to possibilities.’

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