Drawing by Judith Wolfe
Stephen Oliver

Poem


      1979 / A FLIGHT

      At this altitude, ascending and moments later,
      smooth as butter, another community folds beneath an
      undulating, perfectly focused chessboard of canola,

      across sorghum and furrowed paddock, flying
      through cloud print or shadow rush, the ploughshare
      wing that scythes and harries farmland, then banks

      out over grey-blue ocean to hold above cloud;
      the tables turned on day and night a traveller imagines
      as either lost behind or forward ravelling distant.

      Sometime later, campfire and tents, stamped as
      hexagonals into darkness below that confines Istanbul -
      are lights that phosphoresce out under the fuselage;

      like the green tossed flickerings off the Red Sea
      onto shores leading up to the Sinai desert where dawn
      finds pale jade lozenges left out upon those sands.


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