Ode to the Air Traffic Controller
Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, Townsville, Belém, Durban, Lima, Xai-Xai planes with wingspans big as high schools eight hundred nine hundred tons a piece gone like pollen, cumulus cirrus altostratus nimbostratus people getting skinny just trying to lose weight and the sky the biggest thing anyone ever thought of Acceptance, Vancouver, Tehran, Maui school children balloons light blue nothing one goes away not forever, in fact most people, at least if you are flying Delta, come down in Salt Lake City Fairbanks, Kobe, Aukland, Anchorage from Cleveland a hundred Hawaii-bound Germans are coming in low, not to say too low just low pull up Amsterdam pull up Miami historically a very high-strung bunch smokers eaters tiny planes must circle we have bigger problems on our hands New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris the boy who has been ignoring dinner throws thirteen paper planes out the window does it look like this? Tashkent, Nome, Rio, Hobart, yes yes it looks just like that now do your homework Capetown Capetown lots of rain good on one good on two go three go four go five go six Mau, Brak, Zella, Ghat, an African parade good on two good on three please speak English please speak English good on five good on six gentlemen: the world will let us down many times but it will never run out of coffee hooray! for Lagos, Accra, Freetown, Dakar your son is on the telephone the Germans landed safely Seattle off to Istanbul tiny planes please circle oh tiny planes do please please circle
From Something I Expected to be Different by Joshua Beckman, published by Verse Press. Copyright © 2001 by Joshua Beckman. Reprinted by permission of Verse Press. All rights reserved.