Return Flight after Losing to the Prodigy – by Larry Narron

Thirty-eight thousand feet
out of reach,

a hand-me-down quilt
attacks the Midwest.

A river tears through
with complete disregard

for the seams of Nebraska,
its uneven patches of yellow & green.

It’s hard not to see
the land as a board.

I daydream of royal
back rows still intact.

You see, the prodigy
won in four moves.

Now, aching for Scotch
in economy, I wave

down the spider web-
tatted attendant,

a sneaky, diagonaling bishop
who smiles & ignores

my plea, pushes past
with his cart full of booze

after handing me
a smiley-face barf bag.

I hear the pilot grin
as she warns of moderate

turbulence over the Rockies.
I wake as we begin

the descent in California,
where I feel stalemated,

pinned to my seat.
How, with such graceful

sleight of hand,
does she castle

the time zones?
I’ve been cheated.

She’s replaced prairies
with foothills.

A formation of wind
turbines, blades spinning.

They could be dandelions,
trying to hold onto their seeds.

But they’re a brigade
of white pieces,

the only ones left in the game.


Larry Narron‘s poems have appeared in Phoebe, Eleven Eleven, Permafrost, Whiskey Island, Berkeley Poetry Review, The Boiler, and other journals; they’ve been nominated for Best of the Net and Best New Poets. Originally from southern California, he currently lives in northern Michigan, where he reads poetry for Dunes Review.