August’s Poetry Contest Winner: Flight Path

Every month, Goodreads and the
¡POETRY! group host a poetry contest. It’s a great way to discover and support the work of emerging poets. Join the ¡POETRY! group where you can vote to select the winning poem each month from among the finalists. Aspiring poets can also submit a poem for consideration.

Congratulations to Elisabeth, who is our August winner with this poem:

Flight Path

by Elisabeth

During one especially phobic year

I freaked on the Logan-LaGuardia route,

my savior an unlikely former cop,

cascading black curls and smoke on her breath,

distracting me as you would a child.

If not for her I might have premiered

on the ten o’clock news, tied to a seat

shouting nonsense about a metal tube

staying afloat on invisible air.

That was long before the towers fell,

images seared with a strange déjá vu

from the scenes I’d previewed in my head

each time we tipped down for final descent.

When the babies came I swallowed my fear,

holding my nose and choking it down,

donning a mask of composed self-control

to contain the germs a mother can spread.

We traveled the world and I grit my teeth,

carried snacks and crayons in ziploc bags,

counted pages in airline magazines,

exhaled at the chimes of ten thousand feet.

Now they no longer need a chaperone

so I drop them off at departure curbs,

repeating three words as a talisman,

pretending my love could hold up the sky.

On the highway home I play the old songs,

distracting myself as I would a child

but my heart doesn’t slow to its regular pace

until, checking my phone for the twentieth time,

I know we’ve all come back down to earth.

Read More Poetry

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posted by Cybil
on July, 25


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