Flying to Los Angeles | Kael Moffat

Petrified Forest Skyline 1_bw

for Lance Eric Larsen

The great sea
of the Midwest has slipped
beneath and behind
the plane’s cold belly.

In my headphones,
the pinched notes
of Miles Davis’s trumpet
glide over the ensemble
lead by Coltrane and Cannonball
Adderly playing “All Blues.”
Everything Miles played
was, in some way, sad,
my professor once said.

I look down at Arizona
scrolling below. Gray highways
stripe the gold-brown Earth,
dark towns bruise
the valley floors, fans of sediment
spread out and away
from mountains made
bald by heat and wind.

Davis breaks the lull,
blasting unmuted quarter notes
at the piano, bass, and drums
rolling beneath him
like fields of Oklahoma wheat
we have left behind.

We pass over Mile Crater,
half its gaping mouth
black with shadow,
the other half burning
with setting sunlight.
Even this act of God
has scarred the Earth.

Behind us, night crescendos,
swallowing everything
with its great, blue mouth.

Kael Moffat has degrees in English from BYU and Oklahoma State University.  He has contradictory hankerings for the sparseness of the Southwest and the lushness of Germany.  He has had poetry and prose published in Literature and Belief, Weber Studies, BYU Studies,Ellipsis, Platte Valley Review, Black Bough, SevenEightFive, and other journals. Currently, he lives with his wife and four kids in Emporia, Kansas, where he is a library science student and blogs for Public Libraries Online.

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