In Flight

by | Jun 23, 2015 | Poetry

Clouds stretch out in white rows

for miles beside the plane, a whole


orchard of sky and milky gleaming.

I think of what you told me


about Missouri, of the wheat fields

and their swaying glow,


the girl you used to dream about

with blond hair and skinny knees


and too much faith in what

she couldn’t touch. I can never


explain the Great Lakes to people

who haven’t seen them.


The vastness. The exact shade of blue.

Even now, above Lake Michigan,


I can’t find the end of it, the shore

below me. I imagine seagulls


circling somewhere in the space

between cloud and water,


whole lives lived in descent

and in flight. Turbulence


on the plane, and I think

of my grandmother bent over


her third glass of cabernet, years

buried in the same quiet town.


You’ve never asked about my past.

The nights spent in unlit


basements, the boys who thought

their bodies were gifts to be unwrapped,


stories I am happy not to tell you.

The plane bends in toward Chicago,


and I am trying not to grip

the arms of my seat too tightly,


trying not to show that I’m afraid

of losing the sky


I’ve grown used to having

beneath me.

Photo by Lynn D. Rosentrater

About The Author

Michelle Reed

Michelle Reed is a Michigan native working as a freelance writer and editor in Chicago. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Split Lip Magazine, Watershed Review, Lunch Ticket, and The Smoking Poet, among others. She has an MA in English from Bucknell University.