In Indiana I would stare at the birthing
of contrails by jets heading west
filled with passengers who would never
set foot in flyover country;
the hot gas extruding from engines
into loose, watery strands of cirrus.
My brother, looking up with me,
struck by a golf ball hit from across the street,
a small purple globe rising from his forehead.
* * *
I imagine the saddest people flying cross country
from dragging children through airports, hauling luggage,
weightlifting them to the overheads, knees
cramped against thin seats leaning back, elbowing
over armrests, and in turbulent times grasping airsick bags
and checking for exit paths
just in case.
* * *
I remember nodding off
on summer nights as dad drove us home
steering through the dark corn and soybean fields,
swarms of insects splattering against the windshield
caught, surprised, in mid-flight,
entrails smearing the view of the road ahead.
* * *
In the middle of Indiana, I slept
among the long dead and the always dying,
on land once located near the equator
and covered by an ancient shallow sea,
of the shells of marine invertebrates
forming on the sea’s bottom and compacting
into a bedrock graveyard of limestone.
* * *
Is the jet coming or going? If Spengler were here
it would be coming from somewhere.
Watching the trail, and a second one, with changing
wind patterns and broken reflections on the water,
we know we’re the smooth flat stones
we toss and skim across the lake.
David A. Goodrum is a writer and photographer living in Corvallis, Oregon. His poems are forthcoming or have been published in Spillway, Star 82 Review, The Write Launch, and other journals. Additional work (both poetry and photography) can be viewed at davidgoodrum.com.