2. Flight Log




Today I take leave of my mother the earth

to become a creature of the sky

for a few hours,

in the limited and mechanical way

a human can do this.  When I touch her next

it will be in a different place

and I will be grateful,

for air is not my element,

wings and feathers not among my gifts.


Shortly I will quit her again

to become one who lives on the water

for a time, again contrived and artificial

but an opening moment,

a fresh look at life on this patchy planet.

Breathing through a tube of plastic

vision clarified by goggles

I will gaze upon bright creatures

and bob with the water’s rhythm

in a way the sea-fans have done for millennia

but is entirely new, yet primitively familiar,

to me.  I began my life in liquid

but cannot now maintain it there:

at length I must climb back upon

the great green turtle’s shell,

endure another interval of flight

and resume my old way of living --

the same

but subtly changed,




                                                                Kathy Dodd Miner




Sonder: Airport Secrets


Sonder: (n) The realization that each random passerby is living a life as complex as your own, yet you will never know their story. (Dictionary of obscure sorrows)


voices overpowering the loudspeakers

repeated warnings

asking to keep track of your luggage

in case the savagery of humanity

ruins you enough to hide

a device destroying worlds. I am amidst the constant flow

of people so different blending

 in like each feather

on the wing of a sparrow. And I sense no fear, no anger, no

danger. Only awkward presence of humanity. I’d talk to my sister yet avoid

the eyes of the man sitting with his daughter straight

across from me in the wide leather seats by the gate.

Why is it no one can talk to a stranger? A woman with dark

wavy hair sits alone while families walk by, a boy

and what seems like his girlfriend read magazines, not speaking, yet I will

never know the woman’s name

know the destination of families

nor know the status of the couple who seem to be my sister’s age. Humanity

is left unknown because asking too many questions is too intrusive –

forbidden, caused by the many secrets we all hide. I tend to keep my

deepest secrets away from the world – and even

farther from myself. Maybe humanity is at its best

in an airport as overhead voices give

suggestions no one heeds to; they bring one carry-on of Trust

but forget to pack their secrets. They are still easily kept

hidden by others as

disclosed and distant as you are to yourself.

They all blend like the speckled chocolate and

cream feathers on a sparrow’s wing.

                                                                           Alana Schwartz





In this airport lounge, I imagine

a glass house around my space,

an impenetrable sepulcher of silence,

purging my mind of mnemonic

dead weight. An empty page, I am


both benign beast and voracious avatar,

lost in a sanctuary of nothingness

until the pebble of persistent panic strikes,

the impact splintering like a crystal


spider web, returning me to time.

Exposed, I scrutinize two pilots

boarding my flight, one weathered,

gray-haired, striding with command,


the other sauntering a carefree swagger,

his face smooth, seemingly untouched

by a razor. Who? Who do I trust

with these assorted lives:


the poet, the perfume

of her grandson’s diaper lotion

still under her nails,

the chubby Cuban toddler

picking up my computer case,

the grandmother, stoic in her wheel chair,

the teenage lovers weeping final good-byes,

the body builder in a scanty T-shirt,

the nameless multitude

marching in front and behind me,

journeying from and to?


Who determines departure date,

estimated time of arrival,

the final destination of souls,

the commander or his chief,

the avatar or the beast?

Filing through the gate to the door

of the plane, we step through

that bright hole, an open window

of questioning space,

as if into the blankness

following the final word

at the end of a poem.

                                                     Dianalee Velie






You are the lowest of the low –

No carry-on, no exit row.

You fly Group 5, Economy, –

Last middle seat is where you’ll be.


Free meal’s a figment of the past.

Now pay for movies – not in cash.

If want to internet connect,

A three-month contract must expect.


Your lavatory’s in the rear –

Dare never to First Class draw near!

But what’s your reason to complain?

At least they let you on the plane!

                                                                Ray Gallucci




                                             from RST


Maintain control of your belongings at all times.”

Years after 9/11 these same words are said.

It seems there is no flight to former paradigms.


Too many people bear the brunt of certain crimes.

Security fills even innocents with dread.

Maintain control of your belongings at all times.”


We normally face TSA in warmer climes.

Post-Mayo, cases of syringes give us cred.

It seems there is no flight to former paradigms.


The agents understand our awkward pantomimes. 

They know they should not go where angels fear to tread.

Maintain control of your belongings at all times.”


We ask and are allowed to board with other primes.

We leave two bags outside, lift others overhead.

It seems there is no flight to former paradigms.


Once we are seated, my attention turns to rhymes.

You choose to play a game of solitaire instead.

Maintain control of your belongings at all times.”

It seems there is no flight to former paradigms.

                                               Jane Blanchard



Air Travel at Heightened Alert


Men of violence were born

before me and will haunt

the Earth until its last sigh.

They are the undertow

on a gleaming beach, yet—

the waves

still rush

toward shore and the moon is

heavy, in term.


Time buries all.  The sand shifts

and another civilization waits

for a thoughtful archeologist

to discover

the lapis shell, the lucky book,

the gilded horn, heralding

a long forgotten god.


No-one cares about the assassins

doing the dirty work of another civilization,

already skeletal, even when alive,


let loose every generation

when Pandora’s vault yawns,     

free to roam the Earth a while.


The rest of us had life as it sparked

and sometimes flamed.

                                                 Susan C. Waters






Over a warm banana, cold cranberry muffin,

and patch work green fields, seemingly,

decades above grief, and Maryland, I give up

my aisle seat to a stranger, who wants

to be with his wife and daughter,

should we all crash and die.

All this he explains to me with gestures

from his soul, love motions of his hands,

speaking foreign words I don’t comprehend

but clearly understand.


Climbing over two passengers, who refuse to budge,

to the window seat in the last row of the plane,

I take his vacated space.

Pressing my nose against the glass,

staring down at the Atlantic shoreline

through the sun splattered window

and sudden tears, you smile

at me through the clouds,

having already reserved your seat

forever next to mine.

                                              Dianalee Velie





Gazing down on the clouds from Delta Flight 1907,

The year you were born,

I can see you, dad, face up in bed,

Muttering something, maybe praying.

There’s mom next to you, sound asleep.

I take off my glasses to add to the drama

And lo! There’s Pokey howling and scratching,

The proverbial alligator—two!—in pursuit.


Some day, kids, you will see me down there with them,

Gazing upward, squinting at you,

Glad that you have found me,

Wishing to be with you one more time.

                                                                 Fred Yannantuono






Risky business

The final stop                                                     are we there yet?

Traveler's Prayer

Dance it

Entirely dependent

In the desert valley

Celebrate ceramic teapots                        look out the window

Flea market


Finest regime                                                               do you see?

The venue: centuries ago

Commit to the testament now                           on the screen

Olives, Oud, Harp                             Look how far we’ve gone!



Available for purchase


Traditional sounds                                                           I won!

On the compass                              Sh! Turn the game off now

Love the location

Water's edge

The ultimate

Migratory birds                                                                 


Dragons and battles

Locally crafted imagery

Simply choose

The second line

Simpler days                                                     

Be an opera singer                                            are we there yet?                                                  

To the last.

                                                                                                              Mindy Aber Barad


*with thanks to the El Al flight magazine






Do I

keep seeking out

the distant horizon,

blue, beckoning, and unclear or

do I


land here,

plunge into those

dark clouds below, faithful,

like a pilot on instruments



that earth

will soon appear

beneath me, the solid,

unforgiving territory,

I know.

Dianalee Velie



Elegy for Patsy


Small, cloud-hidden

drone—faraway light

plane above the peaks.

Then, cough-sputter

and silence

except for wind

in the balsams.

Less than a minute.


But long, so long.

Then, boom-bark, crunch-

crash, cascade of small

thumps, as ball-

fire wells

through the fog.

                                                                             Tony Reevy





In memoriam: Commodore Jimmy Jones, PBY “Strawberry” scout pilot


My engines drone. Blue

flows out, white

curls of wave-

chop. Just enough

fuel. No bandits.


Radio silence

unless we spot

the Jap fleet.

Eyes dazed from scanning

the sea. Hand binoculars

to co-pilot, a kid

from Chicago.


Our crew is all

kids, really—volunteers

after Pearl.


Strange—to be scared

and bored

at the same moment.


Then, praying we make it back

this time.

                                                                             Tony Reevy





they sound different from

fighter jets on bombing

runs. The scouts fly lower

and they make a constant

buzzing sound. If you hear

them, you’ll know that shells

will be falling soon, bringing

death  with them. If you go

outside make sure you don’t

end up in a group of more

than 20 people one man says

or you might attract a plane.

Scouting  runs are especially

dangerous in summer when

there aren’t any clouds to

obscure pilots’ vision. But

they’re also bad on clear

days in winter. Going out at

night is especially risky because

you can’t see planes coming over

head and you have to drive with

out headlights. One man said

he suddenly felt pressure in

his ears and the windows of his

car cracked. It was an air strike

less than 100 meters behind him,

reminding him he was still alive

                                                            Lyn Lifshin





"When once you have tasted flight you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return."  -- Leonardo da Vinci.


Ilan Ramon was a fighter pilot in the Israel Air force and Israel's first astronaut. He and the six other crew members were killed during re-entry of the US space shuttle "Columbia" on February 1 2003. Miraculously some pages of Ramon's diary survived the heat of the explosion and the cold of space, fell 37 miles to earth and were later recovered.  


Weightless we circle Earth.

In the quiet that envelops space,

sent forth into the unmapped and obscure,

the silence is sublime.                           


Closer to God time loses relevance,

here Shabbat will be ninety minutes,

I hurry to light candles

in non-gravity each flame burns tight

rosebuds that will not bloom.


We pass above the Dead Sea, the Sinai Coast,

and when Jerusalem comes clear, I cloak my eyes

with trembling hands, I recite, "Shema Yisrael."


In ninety minutes the Sun will again emerge

from the darkness beyond Earth.


Sunrise as seen from Space

is as the devouring fire on top of Mt. Sinai

when Moses, freed from the confines of time,

rose to meet the glory of Hashem.


I hold close the small Torah scroll

brought out of the gehinom of Bergen Belson.

It is here with me in the bright depths

that surround the glowing gem that is home.


The hours are filled with high energy particles

that flash fireworks before our eyes, the mind cannot sleep.


In free-fall my crystals have grown more perfect shapes.

With Israel's children I have studied the dust of the Sahara,

watched the splendor of powerful thunderstorms over Asia. 


At sixteen days we will descend the mountain,

the world is watching.

In Eretz Yisrael it is Shabbat.


At sixteen minutes, at re-entry

a great joy fills my heart.


The Earth opens wide its arms to embrace.

                                                           Shira Twersky-Cassel






Squinting at

plump olive trees


studded with ripe fruit,

he saw

a land all washed with silver.


                Save where

                hot black asphalt

                welled-up, scratching

                criss-cross lines.



the cities didn’t hum.

It seemed someone

had gouged

an opaque nothingness,

fluted edges

spattering shapes far-flung.


                Crinkled mountains


cling-wrap squished on plasticine

or scrunched

brown wrapping paper.


Bone and lump

of bedrock

bared uncompromising stone,

reduced to pebbly dots

on key,

too tiny for the naked eye

to see.


            And graduating tones

belie still steeper drops,

translate to mute meanderings,

skirt brown scrawled




                                                to green.


Green fades to yellow,

too close

to ochre sands,

where dangling feet kick wild wet waves,

rippling the edges

of fear and prophecy.

                                              Esther Lixenberg-Bloch