From my window seat on the starboard side
I see three aircraft ahead where the taxiway
curves like a shepherd's crook to the takeoff point.
My new beginning twists all the preparation
and waiting into a coil of anticipation,
pressed down like a jack-in-the-box,
eager to let go at the next turn of the crank.
I try not to show the boyish wonder I still feel
about flying, the weight of many elephants
lifted so easily from the Earth. Not that it's a mystery.
The laws of physics tell us, get air moving fast enough
over a well-shaped wing, it has to rise. Funny,
most of my youth I thought planes flew because
of the air pushing up from underneath, like in the song
Wind Beneath My Wings. Only the truth
is wind tunnels and those artist's renderings
of air flow I saw in class--smoky curlicues
over the top of the wing, pulling up on the aircraft
like a vacuum cleaner grabbing a paper plate.
Taken for granted, like the fact of eyes opening
in the morning, of breath still coming in, going out,
the wheels lift, the airplane blooms into flight,
From Something to Read on the Plane (Main Street Rag, 2004).
Used here with the author’s permission.