“Something of the Sky”

From Christian Wiman's Latest Collection, Survival is a Style

February 4, 2020  By Christian Wiman

A pilot towered into our house
his shirt white as a shout
something of the sky still clinging to him.
The children passed his hat between them like a crown. 

Later—chatty, khaki,
tropical chocolates and foreign coins
spilling out of his pockets—
it was as if upstairs he’d stored a roar. 

All weekend I could almost hear it.
All weekend I felt a hum
inside the furniture, and prayed,
if you could call that panic prayer. 

He was up at dawn—
all glint and epaulette, crease and gleam,
as if his very being had been ironed—
and gone. 

Too tall for the taxi, he bent his hinges
into the backseat
and gave the wave all givers give
for whom a stay is brief and between is home. 


Excerpted from Survival Is a Style by Christian Wiman. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, February 4th 2020. Copyright © 2020 by Christian Wiman. All rights reserved.  

Christian Wiman
Christian Wiman
Christian Wiman is the author of several books, including two memoirs, My Bright Abyss: Meditations of a Modern Believer (FSG, 2013) and He Held Radical Light: The Art of Faith, the Faith of Art (FSG, 2018); Every Riven Thing (FSG, 2010), winner of the Ambassador Book Award in poetry; Once in the West (FSG, 2014), a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist in poetry; and Stolen Air: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam. He teaches religion and literature at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School. His latest poetry collection Survival Is a Style is forthcoming from FSG.

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