The cost of flight

“The cost of flight is landing”

~ Jim Harrison

This is not reality. We are gods up here,
looking down on that small world.
Time is all wrong. I set my phone
to some future space, but it’s not real, yet –
if we could stay here, in some
holding pattern, we wouldn’t age,
we wouldn’t face the messiness
of bodies blurring. We’d just be here,

I have a library on my device.
You have one book, carefully chosen.
Beef or chicken? A bread roll.
We crossed an ocean and a mountain range,
and city lights, and watched a film
about a man who saves the world. Again.

I spent a week in hospital that time,
ticking the menu, reading desperately,
my choices narrowed down –
watching men diving, learning their technique,
seeing them plunge, twist, somersault,
slice through the water. It’s not just flight,
it’s landing, too.



For Jilly – Day 2 of her month of Unreason.  

6 thoughts on “The cost of flight

  1. I think I understand this (I’m never entirely sure with poems) and for me, the second stanza works well. Those little differences that seem incredibly important when you’re trying to ignore something really big.


  2. that in-between time is so well paralleled between flight and hospital in these excellent stanzas Sarah
    “if we could stay here, in some
    holding pattern, we wouldn’t age,”


  3. The essential – the pivot in this poem is that single sentence, almost camouflaged – Again. We need saving or we think we need saving because we are ‘almost’ gods but that is not reality. I like how each stanza is a narrowing of focus until you hit the “I” of the last one and the harsh reality of it, and then you wrap this up with the potential of a crash landing, which is what we all fear in the metaphorical sense. Not sure if this is what the poet has in mind, but this is what comes from one reader’s filters. This is excellent, Sarah, just excellent!


  4. That was excellent top to bottom. I keep saying “this is one of your best”, and then you do more an better. Nuanced, provocative, pulls me in with you.


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