“Orville”: A Poem by Rudy Francisco

A letter from Orville to Wilbur
the evening before their first flight:

The Wright Brothers,
Orville and Wilbur,
are known as the first engineers
to successfully design, build,
and operate an aircraft.

last week, I overheard a joke:
What do you call
Two men who think they can fly?

A funeral.
To be honest, I didn’t think it was funny either.

The whole town has become
an ocean of pointed fingers.

People I once called friends
are now just a tidal wave of unsolicited advice.
They’re trying to rinse out the color from our dreams.

Yesterday, a lady from church pulled me aside
and said,
If God wanted us in the sky,
He would have given us wings.

And I replied, Isn’t that what imagination is?
The act of actually going somewhere
that others can only think of?

Brother, sometimes,
people who have never even tried to run a mile
will tell you that a marathon is too far.

Some people will try to talk you out
of jumping into the water

simply because they have
always been too scared to learn how to swim.

Fear is when the brain digs out all faith from the body
and then calls it survival.

Fear is when we turn up the volume on
everything that might go wrong
and then allow it to speak louder than our courage.

But for those who do not worship at the altar of panic,
for those who will not sacrifice their ambitions
to a demigod of worst-case scenarios,
for those who do not give up,
failure is just a short story they tell
before they talk about success.

I know this process has been difficult.
The miscalculations, the hours we’ve put in,
the days we spend away from our families.

But every time I walk outside,
I can feel the ground getting nervous,
like it knows it cannot keep us here much longer
because we are destined for a higher calling.

I hear them say it’s impossible,
but I say everything is until it’s not.

They call us stupid.
I say stupid and brave are just two sides of the same coin.
The only difference is whether you guess correctly
before the penny hits the floor.

we will call gravity a liar.
We will kiss God on the face.
Tomorrow, I will look you in the eyes,
and I will say, I told you the wind would feel different up here.

What they think does not matter.
When we are in the clouds,
we won’t even be able to see them.

I have a joke.
What do you call the first
two men in the world who figure out how to fly?



Rudy Francisco's poetry collection Excuse Me While I Kiss The Sky

Excerpted from Excuse Me As I Kiss the Sky by Rudy Francisco. Copyright (c) 2023 Button Press. Used by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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