The Mail Plane by Camden Michael Jones
We erect our tents on the hardpack
of the town’s airport,
of stakes and guidelines
a fishing wharf in the tundra;
mail plane comes at one,
overfull vulture circling above
looping North towards the
Gates of the Arctic for the approach run.
landing is a front row rock concert where the bassist only knows one
chord and the drummer is still setting up: the tone resonates in the ooze of
is to say, the landing is simple, drifting
over alpine fir and spruce tops
ballet grace before cutting power
slamming wheels to gravel.
rain feeds the Yukon today.
hands reach for a hard cloud ceiling and
its lows, its troughs call my name,
my name, call my name,
waves in the river’s center,
with storm energy
planes come, and leave,
helicopters set down near us.
play cards in their wind,
camp coffee that strains
the teeth and plugs the gaps;
watch and we wait for
seats that never come,
to leave this airport runway,
to fight the big fires.
hear the boats before we see them,
around the clay banks
we line our packs along
aluminum walls. We
sit in plastic bags to
keep dry of river spray,
hear my name again,
watch another mail plane
off. The hardpack vibrates
the wheels, the engines scream
one note show, and
the DC-3 sinks off the runway towards
Yukon – and us – before catching itself,
slowly, so slowly we can almost touch
silver belly, it growls to the North
South towards Fairbanks.
Origami Hands by Camden Michael Jones
sit on white plastic chairs and watch
is not a last meal;
origami our hands
sing our departure songs
the mirror glass of the sky.
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