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'Night Flight', a new poem by Sarah Holland-Batt

September 2019, no. 414

'Night Flight', a new poem by Sarah Holland-Batt

September 2019, no. 414

As my plane drops down in turbulence

I think of you and of Salt Lake City,

I think of ice stealing over the Great Lakes

and of Omaha and of adamant plains.

I think of all the places

I have never been: Caracas,

La Paz, Kingston. I think of the way

our bodies puzzled together in that room

over pine woods where night deer

passed in the snow, their lonesome

inscrutable tracks sluicing

in the morning’s melt, I think of

your eyes that are almost the colour

of mercury, of their unbearable weight,

I think of the plateau of your chest

rising, rising, and of your hand

resting on my right thigh,

of the slim glint of your wedding

band in the dove predawn light.

I think of how everything is defined

by distance: how close we were,

how far from steel mills in Pittsburgh

and those killing Chicago winds

and union towns near Detroit, Michigan

where loyalty is the only religion.

I think of the sound of your breathing,

which is the sound of fields

of blond Illinois wheat bent down,

I think of those silver silos

of harvest corn we saw in Schuylerville,

barns blazing in all that silence

as we drove through what we could

not think or say. There is no grace

in this kind of longing, there is only pain,

pain which I have always preferred

anyway – it is where I live,

and called love by any other name.

Sarah Holland-Batt

Comments (2)

  • Posted by Marilyn Hadfield
    02 September 2020
  • Posted by Julie Watts
    12 September 2019