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Friday, March 09, 2018


by Peleg Held

Bones discovered on a Pacific island in 1940 are "likely" to be those of famed pilot Amelia Earhart, according to a US peer reviewed science journal. —BBC, March 9, 2018

We are running on a line between
celestial navigation and dead reckoning
tempting the keepers of the crossings:
To live now into the skies.

Gas running low, unable to reach you yet
Electra's song still sings above the static,
the scraping tide where shells are emptied, torn
and wings churn back to ore--
identification in the debris field is a matter of scale.

We must be on you but we cannot see you.
As the sun-line sweeps towards our flight path
we grope for an island. A large ring
of white sand around a bright lagoon.

This is Emil Harte.

We lay out the bones of frigate birds, a testament
on sand. In our dreams Electra remains on the reef
we lean into the transmitter, spit into sunspot
and whisper our coordinates into the harmonic.
Give us a bearing—what is our position now?

I am an island where lost flyers make landfall,
where mercurial fingertips sign the freckled glass
buried in the strand. Here post-loss transmissions
still crackle the air, even as the rest
is carried over in the pincers of crabs.

We are listening.

Author’s Notes: Italicized bits are from the final transmissions of Amelia Earhart. Earhart submitted her poems to Poetry Magazine under the pseudyonym Emil Harte.

Peleg Held lives in Portland, Maine with his partner and his dog Emitt. There is also the semi-feral cat, Smudge. And a kid or two. pelegheld(at)