Ryan Bender-Murphy


An airliner is hiccupping mid-flight, calling the sky
“doctor,” hoping for rescue.

Greeting cards swirl in a gust; then a twister
of them charges to the machine.

It says:
“Discard everything from your pockets, airliner,
take the cheapskates to the grave, but nobody else.”

The plane cracks open and stumbles to its fiery suit.
Passengers place their feet onto cards
and fall into the wind
as it chirps across the plains,
as it knocks around mountains and blistered streets.

Houses are whimpering
during this hour.

They rise from their foundations
and march to the airport
where the incapacitated vessel left.

They leap onto all the planes.
Crying for engines to crack, for
one more cockpit to smash.

Pilots run out, screaming, “What have you done!
What have you done!”

The houses crowd around the pilots, snarling.

The houses fling open their red doors
and suck air into their living
rooms and dining rooms and bedrooms and kitchens.

Now they have the pilots
right where they need them.

One pilot even
pushes a couch to a different
room, rearranges clothing
in a dresser, and takes off
his hat and silver wings.

RYAN BENDER-MURPHY is the author of the chapbook, First Man on Mars, which was recently released by Phantom Limb Press. His poems have also appeared in Better, FLAG+VOID, Front Porch, Phantom Limb, Spork, and elsewhere. He is the editor-in-chief of Hardly Doughnuts, a newly developed literary journal that aims to showcase challenging and experimental narrative poetry.

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