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Michael J. Vaughn


Connecting Flight

Speaking the flavors of geometry
I am one of those matterless points in space
lofted like a sand wedge
over the American continent

The course of my drift is a triangle
my y axis a stone dropped from the nose of this plane
The third point is you
constant star on my western horizon

We shed degrees with each mile and yet
the hypotenuse remains solid, six feet wide
harvesting gravity

Look closer and you find
silk tethers taffy-pulled from the points where
my fingers have touched your skin
a Persian weave of sugary lace
two thousand miles and skyborne

We pierce this
field of clouds and
settle to the ground
Drawing the curtain
on a wide, wide country



Driving to Sappho

The surreal will become real.
       — Mike Cassidy, San Jose Mercury News

No ordinary week we are
driving to Sappho
climbing Cape Flattery
riding herd on crawfish

(planes falling from the sky like shotgun shells)

Mt. Rainier is the loveliest
time bomb in the world dance
naked on her spine you
may better your chances
for mercy

(towers crumbling like toy kites)

I promised him bald eagles they refused
to appear we
found a cave in Seattle
painted the walls with animals.
People cheered.

In the morning he recited a
poem through the door no
meter, broken narrative, people dancing in the air.
In my dream, I wanted to sing
"Beyond the Sea" they wouldn't let me

(a man sits by the window looks
at his ticket it says

We drive all night, careful of
bridges, naming constellations he
needs to dance with tumors
to navigate death's alphabet

No ordinary week we are
driving to Sappho
circling Point Defiance
riding herd on dolphins we will never
be the same


Michael J. Vaughn is the West Coast correspondent for theoperacritic.com, and author of the opera novel Gabriella's Voice (deadendstreet.com). He is a regular contributor to Writer's Digest.
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