Nashville Skyline - Big Mama by Robbie Pinter_1270430447977
This is an archived text version of the author’s work.
View the full multimedia version of Learning To Fly In A Storm

This morning’s storm brought me a funny dream
about my grandmother, a Bigmama from Memphis.
At Christmas, she loved to dance a jingle bell jig.
I only saw her do it once in her small smoked-filled apartment on Windover—
It was right after my granddad who-did-the-smoking had died.
I could swear, though, that during that one night, I had been dancing with her,
right above the trees of Memphis instead of asleep in my Nashville bed.
Bigmama led us all in a spirit line that
would have rivaled a Mardis Gras procession.
Up Poplar over to Tom Lee Park down I-55 to Tunica and over to Ripley.
We danced, picking up my aunts, uncles and cousins with us as we waltzed on in
to the Antioch Cemetery.
Then I lost my grandmother again, for a second time.
I was more confused than sad because of the
robin sitting on a scrubby cedar tree right by where she had been dancing.
It was beside the old field with
headstones, more afterthoughts than markers.
And when the wind was at its fiercest, a matrix of competing directions,
the fledgling jumped into the vortex.
She was flung east, then west into a strange bird-dance that
made crazy eights against the sky.
She pushed her wings up, down and up down but the wind won
over and over and over again until she finally dropped to the ground
almost crashing flat almost. Instead,
with one flare of a fiery push she shot up, feet tucked, wings folded
into a grace-filled flight,
north into the wind.