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Bern Mulvey
Published: Wed Jul 1 2015
Art: Paul TheriaultEver New (detail), 2022, acrylic and found paper on scavenged wood
Cape Air

It seemed impossible, the four of us
and Bob, our young pilot bug-eyed and bouncy,
onto a plane not much bigger than I,
a Missouri spring day, afternoon sun
dazzle, sky that layered, brilliant blue, yet
there and there again a tall cloud white-capped,
bottom dirty with rain. How much do you
weigh?
My answer got me the back row, still
just a yawn and stretched leg from the cockpit,
each of us the same grin, a glee nervous
but somehow glorious too, as if all
our lives had led to this: hard seats, safety
belts narrow, useless strips, engines so loud
we had to scream to say, Hello. Bob wiped
the windshield clean and we were off, tail end
lurching, an exotic dance as we left
the tarmac and climbed, searching, the right path
in pathless air. A swerve and again swerve,
ahead sudden lightning, long jagged line
of light drawn to a distant point, like how
past and future are made, a movement to
and away, unseen even the shaking
hand which grips us, makes us hold anything,
alive in an unbroken string of now.

Bern Mulvey is the author, most recently, of the poetry collection Deep Snow Country (Oberlin College Press, 2014), winner of the FIELD Poetry Prize. He has published poems, articles, and essays in English and Japanese, including recent work in The Missouri Review, Ninth Letter, AGNI, Poetry, FIELD, Beloit Poetry Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Poetry East. His first book, The Fat Sheep Everyone Wants (2008), won the 2007 Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize. He also has published two chapbooks: The Window Tribe (White Eagle Coffee Store Press, 2005) and Character Readings (Copperdome/Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2012). He lives in Iwate, Japan. (updated 10/2017)

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