Poems by Kevin Prufer

Ars Poetica

Air Disaster Over Kansas

Ode to Rome


Air Disaster Over Kansas

Did a shining god put a kiss on the nose cone?
The airplane rocked on its wings, an engine droned

then coughed. A rotor stopped and would not turn
again. The gas tank burned

and someone saw a creature on the wing
scraping long talons over the singed

flaps, gray head tucked low. I drained
my drink and called the stewardess. The plane,

she said, is going down. Will you have a last
and final scotch?
I would. I gave her all my cash

for which she thanked me, backing queasily
away. The others sat uneasily

craning their dull necks to the windows
as the hungry creature bit the wing. Although

it was little comfort, it occurred to me
through the stink of smoke and gasoline,

that America loves a doomed and falling
populace as much as it loves anything.




From FALLEN FROM A CHARIOT (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2005)