So it has come to this: hung by my heels for love hundreds of feet over the city, the tips of live oaks brushing the sky with their new light-green feathers, traffic glittering evilly far below. My whole life suspended against a thin safety bar, Patty, the child who said she wanted this, beside me screaming — in delight or terror? The man pushes the button again and the white arm of the machine, evolution painted innocently on its side in baby blue curlicues, tilts, swoops — circles — whirls us — up — overhead again — hurls us at the sun. Eyes squeezed shut, bodies robbed of gravity, o heavy gift, o familiar mortal pleasure — Patty beside me can’t scream anymore. We cling to our separate flimsy cages. If she somehow slips through the bar — I won’t catch her. Can’t. Lobbed, caught and flung, again and again we rotate powerlessly like blind meteors who swoop too low to earth and then veer away just before crashing. I can’t get used to the danger, how our fragile ordinary lives slide, slam, hang in the balance. The man on the ground is stony-faced as the angel of death. No amount of pleading will get us off. What could we have done to deserve this? And why, when we finally descend, jelly-legged and grateful for our drab lives, do we turn back at once for another round?