Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2021  Vol. 20  No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Flight Paths

Every hawk screech corrodes inside me as
yellow as the mustard-colored lichen covering
the branches of a nearby tree with fruit hanging
from its fingers like tethered moons. The gray
rocks in the area are also lichen-splattered by
autumn’s abstract expressionism. I find a plastic
container covered with a slab of rock. I open it
like a treasure chest and inside I find: a silver fork,
toy planes, and a red ball like a clown’s nose.
An aircraft cartwheel crashed somewhere in these
golden washed hills and I imagine that it fell out
of a dream. I run my finger over a vein in my
arm ike I’m tracing its flight path. And when I
lick the bony lump on the roof of my mouth, I can
almost feel its broken metal wing. I attempt to
write a poem on a piece of paper about how its
wreckage becomes scattered across the rising ground
of my chest and the corpses are carried on horseback
to my heart. I decide to draw a map of my thoracic
basket instead which I fold into a small paper plane.
Then I place it inside the container and close the lid.
What I really want to say is that I no longer feel like
I’m losing my battle with gravity. That I no longer
feel like a black hole is sucking the life out of my
body like an orca sucking a liver out of a shark.
I think of every human who has ever reached this peak.
And I wonder if they’ve ever found pieces of sky
twisted in the grass rusted with leaves, or felt the
hot shadow of the wind like sparks on their tongues.  

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