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(Commuter flight, Boston to Washington)

After the sleet,

the traffic jam, a slick ramp

to Departures blocked by Lyfts

and crawling shuttle lines,

the half-read Times crimped

underarm when board-groups

were announced; the thump

when wheels at last went up

a corrugated floor

of cloud unreels, whale-humped.

Between its gaps float strands

of mackerel sky, foreshortened

from above. Above all

rides a dome of robins’-egg,

bordered with strokes of pink.

Felt silence grows outside

thick double plexiglas.

My disembodied eye

skips lightly over nimbus

peaks, past streamers hanging

in the middle air, to

puffballs that appear to waltz

then disengage below.

Of all the types of quiet

(while we bank left in a turn

directed south), this now

seems most immense -- deeper

than hush when insects cease

and warblers nestle down,

fearsome as glacial faults

or canyon cliffs.

We trust in each safe landing

while ascending half in trance

gliding with blinkered foresight

on our misted paths of chance.

Version first published in International Workers' Day: An Anthology on Work (Moonstone Press, May 2021)

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