A Pilot's Ponderings

Poet: Shari Lane

Do you think he knew

as he flew

with a belly full of darkness?

(Does rhyming make it poetry

Instead of atrocity?)

I like to think he missed the red cross on the roof.

Daydreaming of the unassuming arrow

the crocus makes before it blooms

in his neighbor’s garden,

the potential for color and fertility and beauty hiding in the soil,

until the sun calls it out, until its time arrives, and

Anticipating the riot of sweet and sour and salt assaulting his tongue

in the solyanka his sister promised to make him when he returned

because she’s found a way to make it without meat since

he’s vegetarian, and

Remembering the time his mother kissed his scraped knee,

her lips touching the blood and dirt and little strips of skin

—the first and last time in his life a kiss really

did make it all better.

Tangled in his thoughts like a cat ensnared

in a ball of yarn, a plaything turned trap,

I hope he never saw the target

before he pushed the button.

(Or is it a lever? A knob? A verbal command? A swipe left, or right?

How does one dispense death, these days?)

Because the knowing is unbearable.

Shari Lane has degrees in comparative literature and classics, as well as a juris doctor. Until recently, she was a lawyer by day, and a writer the rest of the time. Her story A Brief Affair appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine in the summer, 2021, and Thaumaturgy was accepted by Amplify. Other stories received honorable mention from Glimmer Train, longlisting from Fish Publishing, and an award from the Oregon Writers Colony.