The Improbabilities of Flight

by Dale Patterson
PenShells
Second Place, February 2015
Judged by Ned Balbo


I.
For thrills we trespass, park with lights out
on a private service road. Jets pass overhead.
Throttled back they drift to align with the runway,
winged zeppelins falling to earth.

II.
Mr. Hastings dashes X for unknown velocity.
Your snicker booms as he hands me the chalk,
says calculate an infinite number, make it
reasonable by rounding. In the silence
that follows I draw fragile stickmen.

III.
Reverend Knowles says I will abandon you.
My warrant for failure to appear fuels his belief.
I am reminded of something else he once said,
“a wee bit of faith will rise above doubt.”

IV.
Our heavy plane crosses Lake Michigan. I awaken
as your hand touches my face. We bank in a riff
of muted jazz trumpets, the shadow of wings
climbing hillsides of waves,
silver sunlight on water.


Four memorable lyrics that take to the air literally or metaphorically. From impossible-to-master mathematics to a Reverend’s remarks on faith and an airline passenger’s tender moment, we are transported. --Ned Balbo

  • December 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Tires
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Babilu

      Second Place

      Scouring Pots While the World Ends
      by Elizabeth Koopman
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Poetry in the Cultural Revolution
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

  • November 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Radium Girls
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      The Unreliable Narrator
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Birds 2
      by JJ Williamson
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      Too Late
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Waters