~This poem was previously published in Connecticut Review (2009).
Leaving in a Beechcraft
Still night, the tarmac dawn.
The propeller drone begins to slant me
up from the dark ground,
where I was a daughter again,
and the urge to flee rushed back to me.
My mother told me not to wear pearls before evening
and reproved my pronunciation of the word cupola.
Corrections are entrenched in her memory,
and yet she confused her mastectomy
with her childhood appendectomy,
and I was adolescently
sullen—all over again.
Now, lifting on through the dark into the cloud cover—
with that black emptiness outside the window—
the plane moves slowly, heavily, noisily, diagonally,
and finally it breaks into space, where,
Orange sun, you seem to be expecting me.
THE STORY BEHIND THE POEM
I spent much of my childhood on a farm in Upstate New York. To visit in later life, when my mother was physically and mentally failing, I usually flew what was then called USAir Express, which had some small Beechcraft airplanes in its fleet. These planes symbolized my means of escape. They represented fleeting moments that embodied memories of sadness, frustration, and hope. Taking off in total morning darkness and rising into a glorious sunshine, how could one not write a poem about that?
ABOUT ANNE HARDING WOODWORTH
Anne Harding Woodworth is the author of five books of poetry and three chapbooks. Her most recent book is Unattached Male (Poetry Salzburg), while Herding (Cervena Barva Press) is her recent chapbook of cow poems. Her fourth chapbook, The Last Gun, will be published by Cervena Barva in 2016. Harding Woodworth lives in Washington, D.C., where she is a member of the Poetry Board of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Find her on Twitter: @aesopseagles. For more information: www.annehardingwoodworth.com