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Decommissioned Planes

It’s not easy to pull the track blinds,
look for cedar waxwings or passenger jets
through dad’s cheapo binoculars,
check the furnace filters, pilot light,
as engines rumble overhead.
Decommissioned planes in long-term storage
in the Mojave are obsolete yet invincible.
Because of the dry climate,
they don’t rust, parts are recycled
or sold to foreign nations,
to keep other planes in the air.
You examine aerial photographs,
satellite images, painterly trails
of hydraulic fluid soaking into sand.
When the Emergency Broadcast System
says This is only a test, you leave the TV on
because you’ve gotten used to the sound.
You keep waiting for the heat to come on,
for the regular broadcast to resume,
for a new sensation to quicken inside you
like the sight of that fleet of ghost planes
lifted from the desert, reanimated,
hovering over your house as if everything is fine.

 

Laura Matwichuk’s writing has appeared in CV2, EVENT, Poetry is Dead, Riddle Fence and The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2013 and she was a finalist for the 2013 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. Born in Winnipeg, she now lives in Vancouver.

To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.