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Cape Air

by Bern Mulvey

It seemed impossible, the four of us
and Bob, our young pilot bug-eyed and bouncy,
onto a plane not much bigger than I,
a Missouri spring day, afternoon sun
dazzle, sky that layered, brilliant blue, yet
there and there again a tall cloud white-capped,
bottom dirty with rain. How much do you
My answer got me the back row, still
just a yawn and stretched leg from the cockpit,
each of us the same grin, a glee nervous
but somehow glorious too, as if all
our lives had led to this: hard seats, safety
belts narrow, useless strips, engines so loud
we had to scream to say, Hello. Bob wiped
the windshield clean and we were off, tail end
lurching, an exotic dance as we left
the tarmac and climbed, searching, the right path
in pathless air. A swerve and again swerve,
ahead sudden lightning, long jagged line
of light drawn to a distant point, like how
past and future are made, a movement to
and away, unseen even the shaking
hand which grips us, makes us hold anything,
alive in an unbroken string of now.


Bern Mulvey has published poems, articles, and essays in English and Japanese, including recent work in Poetry, FIELD, and Beloit Poetry Journal. He is the author of two books and two chapbooks; his second book, Deep Snow Country, won the 2013 FIELD Poetry Prize. He lives in Iwate, Japan. (5/2015)

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