Planes have stopped searching the sky for answers
as the crowd gathers into the terminal, fists up.
For once, we are made of metal– wings to give
the silenced flight. We mobilize on the ground
with footsteps of thunder, voices of titanium.
In rising, we promise to fly, scan the landscape
for green landings. Drop the ladders down,
worry about the pressure– not the altitude.
(originally published in Urtica Lit Blog, Summer 2019)
We march through the airport in cold winds chanting
aluminum fists in the air and when we come home
the Fireball bottle is empty. The chimney is covered
in dust and Johnny has pneumonia for the second time
this year, lungs filled with water but no one else
breathes easily, just tuning into television fills a room
with coughs and silence. We had wings for a minute
but the planes have resumed their spots in the air far
away from the things that hurt. Just gazing down on
wide landscapes of gray plains and small churches
crumbling from the steeples.
(originally published in The Courtship of Winds, Summer 2019)
Planes fly in circles
all day, all night.
You traveled alone, again.
There’s always one bag
no one claims on the belt.
Movement stops, you wait
in the airport’s clinical lights
while conversations blend to a drone.
Beach bracelets and t-shirts in tow,
others wait for rides in the river of cars.
Passengers from other planes filter in
and tend their incoming sheep.
There are destinations,
but don’t rush.
(originally published in 50GS, Winter 2018)
You learn your plane
has been delayed
You remind yourself it has nothing to do
with you. The cause must be
something mechanical– a loose cap or
calibration error. The crew
does not have to say it’s not you,
it’s us because by now you know
the sigh of steel wings, how planes take
a while to ascend anyway.
How insignificant– this delay
stretches hours and a kind
voice speaks through white
noise on the loudspeaker like
she wants to say there is something
we can do to make a difference.
The plane will have the sky when
it is ready. Until then,
do not say it is broken.
(originally published in Little Patuxent Review, Winter 2016)
Waiting in the airport and the ceiling fluorescents
are arranged like a runway askance and I know
I am running from what cannot be salvaged:
a week ago we soared through the sky
with all parts intact and fully functional.
I didn’t need to look out deep, endless windows
of fields and plane-paved paths and houses and wonder
where I belonged, how an engine could so quickly find fault,
how its parts could rust in her thrust into eternity–
we will never have the biology to fly, no matter
our construction, no matter the fantasy of the air–
and the air is a fantasy you breathe easy and pure
but the higher you go the more lungs constrict the heart
and light breathing becomes impossible in the heavy beating
that feels like so much excess baggage it will encumber
the great invention and bring it tumbling to earth,
where we begin and always end–
where, in the vast expanse of land I have no choice but to
stay bound to, I stare up toward the full, cloudy sky
and watch the great, miraculous wings of blackbirds
descend slowly on telephone lines beyond reach
to know what I am made of will never be enough.
(originally published in Rust + Moth, Autumn 2016)