Saint Christopher’s River | Christi Kelly

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Some find faith faster than others.
One jolt or two, a dozen clean
flights before a close call,

or the first with your kids
in 14A and 14C and you
in between. Save us, please,

get this thing safely up and
down again. Be with the pilots
with a hundred lives in their hands

as you were with Christopher
that day in the brown rising river,
all the world on his shoulders.

It took me a thousand flights
to start finding god.
I slowly surrendered my fear

to the Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary,
my takeoff anthems a nod to the faith
and gamble inherent in air travel.

(I learn to make sure I include amen
so the Hail Mary doesn’t end in death.)
I ask the Mother and Father for mercy

on behalf of me and my seatmates,
in case they forget to pray, in case the pilot
is hopeless today or distracted by love,

in case of fire, smoke, the dreaded plummet;
carry us safely to our destined place.
God, grant me the serenity to accept

these things I cannot change:
flight delays, yesterday’s mistakes,
the physics of time and air and space.

Christi Kelly is a poet in Missouri, where she lives with her partner and two kids. Her nonfiction has won journalism and PR awards, and her poems have been published in the anthology Off Channel and Wisconsin Review. Christi is pursuing an MFA in writing in the international low-residency program at Spalding University.

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