GHOST PLANE

FOR HELIOS AIRWAYS FLIGHT 522

 

Logic unhinges. Hallucinations

shuffle down the isles. A stray laugh

rises. Oxygen masks are little more

 

than decoys; we keep them strapped

to our cheeks, but can’t recall why.

Children hush, turn a dull blue.

 

Pilots slump across the controls

like scarecrows. The first nervous

dozen are luckiest, but after hours

 

of circling, we all quiet. Some swoon,

mutter as if gripped by nightmares.

A flight attendant breaches the cockpit

 

just as the engine is choked by flames.

Does he pant his last breath into a bank

of blinking lights, or meet the mountain’s

 

grey gaze? Do wildflowers flow down

the slope like a braid over a bare

shoulder? And does he reach out

 

to touch it, run it through

shaking, mortal fingers?

 

 

MASTER BIRDMAN

An aeroplane in the hands of Lincoln Beachey is poetry.

– Orville Wright

 

Stockings roll down; hair is unpinned.

Slim digits slip into my flying gloves,

cradle a helmet perfumed by hair tonic.

I draw gasps but slink out at daybreak.

 

Air’s the absolute, bears both gulls

and my crude craft, “a beat-up orange

crate.” Air wordlessly waits, its vastness

a dare, a glove swatted at my cheek.

 

So I must glide updrafts, plummet

to graze the ground with one fingertip.

The body submits, but it’s bloody, bones

heavier than hollow. So, it must breach

 

like a birth, sputter into a final spiral.

They’ll say I drowned, that it took hours

to fish me out by the suit I always wore

to fly. But they’ll do worse, grasping

 

the bars of a hospital bed, gulping

pudding from a plastic spoon. Better

to perform an aerial spin, misjudge

and get what they always expected—

 

swallow jellyfish and krill, midwifed

into blackness by silent, damp beasts.

 

 

WEIGHT OF THE WORLD

IN THE VOICE OF A MINOR DIETY

 

Feet wrapped in grave-gauze, I hunch to suck ink

off newspaper corners. So, tell me—war is spreading;

 

the latest madman pumped the morning full of bullets;

the ocean laps the toes of the Rockies. I used to float,

 

barely break a blade when I crossed the lawn, the choir’s

harmonies like bellows, a child’s sleeping chest. Then

 

I shrunk to a shadow, words an untidy clump of yarn

in my mouth. Pass the latest screen and light me from

 

below like a ghost story; give me the artless and brief,

no epics to draw up earthworms like a thunderstorm.

 

You’ve stuck too many grubby, doubting digits in my

direction. I’ll enter with the beggars, virgin-hungry

 

as a volcano; but I’d stop all this ill wishing, scanning

the horizon for quaking, if you’d just dig a coin from

 

your pocket, flick it, tenderly, down the storm drain.

 

by Luiza Flynn-Goodlett

Luiza Flynn-Goodlett migrated to the Bay Area, after completion of her MFA at The New School. She was awarded the Andrea Klein Willison Prize for Poetry upon graduation from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Oberon Poetry, Meridian, Lumina, CALYX Journal, and Prism Review. She recently completed her first book, Congress of Mud.

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