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Tuesday, August 14, 2018


by Shirley J. Brewer

This undated selfie picture available on social media on Saturday shows Richard Russell, a ground service agent at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. He is believed to have died when a plane  he stole and flew crashed into Ketron Island, about 30 miles south of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, setting off a large forest fire. Authorities say he was suicidal. (AFP/Getty Images via USA Today)

Burdened by heavy baggage, he soars
low over Puget Sound,
performs an aerial loop—a suicide note?—
on his first and final flight.
He crashes the stolen plane,
burns in a rush of tangerine flame.

The ride lasts an hour, yet
who dares set a timer on this brief
bird's-eye view of silver wings_
within grief such a fleeting joy.
How long was he falling before he fell?
Like Icarus, no one can tell.

He said he was just a broken guy,
and leaves his family to ponder why.

Shirley J. Brewer serves as poet-in-residence at Carver Center for the Arts in Baltimore, MD. She earned an MBA from the Maryland Bartending Academy. Her poems garnish Barrow Street, Comstock Review, TheNewVerse.News, Poetry East, Slant and other journals. Shirley's books include A Little Breast Music (2008), After Words (2013) and Bistro in Another Realm (2017).