Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


A Broken Guy

in Health by

Someone on the ground tweets
“weird times,” seeing the Alaska Air turboprop
flying low then rolling a slow loop.

Inside the stolen plane a guy like me,
one of the ground crew at SeaTac
talks to air traffic that tries to talk him down.

From the crumpled lovely landscape
of inlets and sound, woods and mountains,
someone films his flight, lovely silhouette

like a stiff-winged soul staking its claim
against sunset’s purple-orange fade. Ascending
and descending, it’s like some odd bird

or mystical cross gliding across a heart-breaking
sky as the sneak-pilot says just a broken guy,
got a few screws loose. He has an eye for beauty,

Rainier and the Olympic peaks, those guys
are gorgeous, and the desire that most of us have
for a moment of serenity that never comes.

In his hour of free, he’s sorry to a lot of people
that care; it’s going to disappoint them.
It shouldn’t be like jail time for life when you want

to fly away from it all, the dull day-to-day, when
you don’t want to mess stuff up, or screw up everyone
else’s day. You just want to leave the earth and fly.

It ends like any bad dream: eyes thick with sleep
see blurred orange light among the dark trees—fire
burning where he brought it nose down. Call it a night.


Horizon Air worker takes plane from Sea-Tac Airport, crashes on island in south Puget Sound [Seattle Times]

Matthew Murrey is a poet whose writings have appeared in various journals such as Tar River Poetry, Poetry East, and Rattle. He received an NEA Fellowship in Poetry a number of years ago, and his first book, Bulletproof, will be published by Jacar Press. He is a high school librarian in Urbana, Illinois where he lives with his partner. They have two sons who live in the Pacific Northwest

Photo by Leio McLaren.

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