“Pre-Flight”

Moon and Clouds

“Pre-Flight”

By Marcus Bales

A tired, blood-shot moon was staring down
Half-closed with puffy clouds, as if the night
Before had been too hard, too late, too much.
The wind was building like a headache, brown
Around its sharpening edges. It blurred my sight,
And grit was all that I could taste or touch.

She ran her engine up and down to test,
Then shut it off, climbed out, and zipped her vest
Against the wind. She paid her bill in cash
And turned at last to me. And there we were.
I tried to say how much I wished she’d change
Her mind, in spite of everything, and stay.
We talked about the wind, her fuel and range,
And where she’d land, and how long she should rest.
I’d nearly nerved myself to reach for her
And try to say it somehow anyway
When over to the east a pinkish flash
Went off like an alarm to send her west.

We’d waited there together for the dawn
And it had come too soon. The sky was clear
The moon had set, the wind was just a breeze.
Could lifetimes really turn on things like these?
I called good-bye. By then she couldn’t hear.
I pulled the chocks away, and she was gone.

Marcus Bales lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio

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