Transworld Flight / tom sheehan

In dawn’s wing-lift, when great gulls
tell time, he let go her hand. She
counted syllables rounding up silence.
Onto the damp, fashionable driveway,
slabs of it powdered by salt, she heard
a gull drop a noisy quahog for openers.
Feathers filled her mind, flight elements,
a warm thermal climbed upon, migrations.
Now all my birds are flying, she said.
A last time she held him, his bones fled,
heart at smithereens, never looking back.
He was an auk, open mouthed, pleading
for forgiveness, the cold take of muscle
racing far ahead of lungs’ last exercise,
nerves at plastic wire ventures, the fire-
place of his chest banked in ashes.
Overhead, in trails of blue flight,
the company of birds climbed outward.
He rose to the east of morning, left her
and Nahant touching an edge of departures,
fingerprints carried aloft on feathers,
and all the way out, like broken promises,
the sea morgue-cold and valid,
she felt him newly forming over waters.

’s books Epic Cures; Brief Cases, Short Spans; A Collection of Friends and From the Quickening have garnered him several awards, and he has published fiction and poetry widely. He has ten Pushcart nominations, Noted Stories for 2007 and 2008, and the Georges Simenon Award for fiction.