Blue-White Coast of Greenland

Blue-White Coast of Greenland

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Creature of Blood and Bone Saw

Athens, Georgia
March 6, 2019

Well, we had a nice run, 
my old right hip and me.
Seventy laps around the sun,

and so many ecstatic miles 
of endorphin-spun joy 
I couldn’t count the cost.

But I would have been cat food 
forty thousand years ago, 
perhaps a snack for a saber tooth.

Hobbled by a bum hip, 
I could not have caught a ground sloth 
or scored an egg from an angry auk. 

You might have found my tangled heap 
of dried blood and gnawed bones 
mixed with gristle and scat. 

But forty thousand years on, 
we live in technological times. 
So I rise from blood and bone saw

hammered and reamed, teetering 
on a new titanium hip 
which once was ore from the Outback 

reduced in a fluidized bed, 
superheated to a thousand degrees 
in a stainless steel retort. 

Leached, jackhammered, 
crushed and pressed, 
then melted with a plasma arc 

and alloyed with aluminum 
so its Young’s modulus matches
my bone – behold 

the forty thousand dollar man,
incipient cyborg, titanium hipster.
By the mercy of insurance, 

craft of the surgeon, 
and sweat at the hands of a therapist,
soon I shall stride again.

Thigh bone by the author.
X-ray by Athens Orthopedic Clinic.
Doodle by David Noah.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Prayer at Forty Thousand Feet

While Flying Home from my Daughter's Wedding
January 20, 2019

It is minus sixty C outside 
when the headwind hits a hundred. 
The whole plane shakes. I scrunch 
inside an airline blanket, 

catnapping across the North Atlantic. 
I nibble on gnocchi and mild cheddar, 
nurse a lukewarm ginger ale, 
and study the seat-back screen 

inches from my face. Call me 28J. 
My world is a shuttered tube 
encased in a rumble inside a dull roar 
tracing the twilight arc toward home.

Old Blighty is hours behind.
Below, an unseen ocean. We track 
northwest, laying a trail of carbon 
over the top of the troposphere. 

Screens flicker. 27G smiles 
as a dinosaur eats an actor.
24E comforts her child. 
29H reads a real book. 

Outside my portal, the full wolf moon 
burns through high crystal haze. 
Some forty thousand feet below, 
a blue-white coast slides by. 

Strangers in Nuuk are watching 
the sky. Back in Biggleswade, 
my daughter and her Englishman 
are braving the evening chill.

People I love live north now,
so I pray for the polar vortex – 
may its circle be unbroken 
and bottle up the Arctic air. 

And I bless the Gulf Stream – 
may it meander north forever 
and carry the warmth of Georgia 
to my new-forged family abroad.