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Category archive for: Kathleen Flenniken

Helicopter, Chernobyl

https://youtu.be/zuNtgYtF4FI

A blade in slow motion

strikes a construction crane—

and this reminds me they’re called birds:

the copter stills, tilts, drops

like a shot bird,

dragging a bucket of sand for the meltdown.

I rerun the 21-second film.

When its blade strikes a crane

the helicopter stalls, unsure

how to exit the scene.

(Belly up, crumpling.)

The blade strikes a crane

and the bird descends out of eyeshot,

crashing offscreen.

What exactly am I feeling?

So I repeat it. It’s a fly brushed

from the face of God,

in the face of what can’t be contained.

A blade strikes the crane;

the bird’s descent

is another melting and becomes

Winslow Homer’s painting of ducks

stilled in flight by a hunter’s gun—

or radiation.

Or was it just snow on my TV that April,

enveloping the pilot

and a map of Europe?

What was happening to us all?

Not yet certain

what I was seeing, watching a bird—

or was it a sky—fall.

from Poetry Northwest 11.1 Summer & Fall 2016More by Kathleen Flenniken from the library

Copyright © Kathleen Flenniken
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.