Did I put on a parachute? Do I even have a parachute? This, I think, I don't really want to know. To know the answer is to defeat the purpose of the moment, which is to jump. Jump without knowing, and more importantly, if possible, without caring. I'm holding on to something. I look: it's a metal handle welded to a rib that curves around the fuselage of this airplane. It's strong, utilitarian, useful; the opposite of almost everything else in my life. It's one of the reasons I'm here. To find, and to grasp, something irrefutably solid and immovable, the purpose of which is single-minded: to give steadiness to someone like me when he needs it.
Reminded of the airplane, I become aware of the noise and the vibration. I look up and see an open door. Next to it, a man dressed in a brown jumpsuit and bright red helmet and gloves and goggles. And parachute. He is pointing at me and waving his hand to come forward. I realize I've just woken up from a dream - that I fell asleep while the plane climbed to jumping altitude. And I know I must have a parachute on. My hand slaps down over an oval clamp over my belly button; yes, of course I do. Still, the tiniest part of me wonders, how would I know if I'm awake, really? and I get up and stumble forward toward this young man and I stop next to him - waiting for instruction? - and he motions me on forward, into the mouth of the open door. My hands instinctively reach up on each side and grasp the frame and what do I find? Two more of those fine, reassuring metal handles, sized and placed exactly as needed by someone standing in this door, facing outward, ready to die.
I turn my head to the right to see his face and before I can glimpse his eyes, I feel his hand on my back and a push and the metal handles fail me, or I fail them, and I'm out. Falling.
Have I done this before? I seem to remember doing it, yes, or else I remember dreaming that I did. Then I remember that once, on a cold day drinking juniper tea from an incredibly fragile teacup handed me by a small brown woman with no teeth and a bright red scarf hiding her hideous hair, I wrote a little poem in which I floated like this, and remembered floating like this, and down I floated, wind whipping as if punishing me for something, eyes full of tears despite my goggles and unspoken apologies, arms extended in surrender, glimpsing something like the earth and trees and water and sand turning below me, turning slowly, then quickly, tumbling out of sight finally, and my thought at that moment, my final thought, was, I remember remembering a dream that became a poem that became life that became ....