First flight

FIRST FLIGHT – by Helga Kidder

. . . and in its shadow
we know one another

~ W. S. Merwin “The Rock”

Married one week, mid-air between
continents, hunger for anything new
quivered inside me like a leaf, unfurling.

The sky February blue.
Behind me a Black Forest village,
mother, and nosy neighbors.
In front of me a town in Tennessee
full of strangers speaking
in a strange language.

Below, ice floes on the ocean,
steaming like mother’s kettle boiling
as the sun forced its way down.

I sat next to my new husband,
confident in a herringbone suit
mother helped pick out,
my white sling-backs dared
the ‘not before Easter’ rule.

We talked about our future,
children, the two-bedroom apartment
with bathroom waiting for us.
Among invisible stars we spoke
without shadows between our words.

I couldn’t know fourteen years later,
I would trip over nutshells and twigs
scattered on the driveway
after strong winds shook trees,
leaving a taste of rain and divorce in the air.

Descending through clouds
this flight propelled me
into a new name, a new language,
a woman I would learn to be.

Image Credit: Boeing 747 sunset landing wallpaper (

Helga Kidder

Helga Kidder lives in the hills of Tennessee. She was awarded an MFA from Vermont College. Co-founder of the Chattanooga Writers Guild, she leads one of its poetry groups. Her poems have been published in Slipstream, Moebius, Poetry South and many others as well as in the anthology Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace. She has three poetry collections: Wild Plums, Luckier than the Stars, and Blackberry Winter.

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