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Cancelled Flight

December 7, 2010


After traveling the byways of East Tennessee, WC Roberts settled down in a mobile home up on Bixby Hill, on land that was once the county dump. The only window looks out on a ragged scarecrow standing in a field of straw and dressed in WC’s own discarded clothes. WC dreams of the desert, of finally getting his first television set and of ravens. Above all, he writes, and has had his poetry published in Apex Magazine, Shock Totem, Illumen, Mindflights, Aoife’s Kiss, Basement Stories, Labyrinth Inhabitant Magazine, Scifaikuest, Star*Line, and has work accepted for upcoming publication in Strange Horizons, Space & Time Magazine, The Martian Wave, and others.

You’ll find the Pièta d’Avignon at the bar
clutching a telegram from her husband
the cretin of Panama—

“dying of yellow fever beside the canal.
All hope, everything in pieces”

—received that afternoon
with an aplomb that startled Facteur Cheval
and those folks along his route
he stopped to gossip with.

They all know her almighty craving for absinthe.
Why don’t you go ask the frayed,
orange hem of her skirt
to put out your glowing coals?

Talk of ardor and mother’s love
as the widow downs yet another highball

aerostat Ichor.

She nods off, in her cups—
ash gray as you paint the exotic
landscapes with words, your impressions
of Annamite villages along the Mekong
at 1200 meters.

You take her hand, take her outside
for a breath of fresh air
but—strong as you are, and eloquent—
nothing you say or do can lift her
gaze or shadow from the ground.

© W.C. Roberts