Reading on a Plane

Colin Dodds
Featured image: I wish to go beyond the fire that burns me © Nora Beck 2019


Ghost feathers, ghost fetters
orange cross-hatched prairie-floor towns
aligned to far-off ridge or favored constellation
In vastness, how to choose?

On an airplane by the rear lavatory
I wonder what the chicken scratch
of civilization spells,
wonder what a pretty girl means
while the scatter ignites and the earth
becomes another earth

Plastic pen, burning fuel vaulted miles in the air
Ground speed 707 MPH, tailfin bobbing, frosty plain
of dried-riverbed serpents, box-canyon land
eaten to tombs and towers, bug chitter,
shrub gossip, odd rubble, improbable syllables

Cheyenne, Albuquerque, Wichita, Provo, Sioux Falls

Names define words
to give us words to define the names,
like workers punching each others’ time cards
so they can drink past lunch

Something does slide
past undetected
But who misses it?