Jay McClendon

I’m not some graceful, silent bird, its wings spread wide,

its feet skimming the water in the pre-dawn fog.

I’m not the mist rising, the fog lifting, the great

trees sashaying in a cool breeze, the sky all gray and low.


I’m not your safety metaphor, or your abstraction, or your little cliché.

I’m not the boy I used to be. I’ll blow your little bird out the water.


I’m a ghost train, a locomotive screaming,

my wheels gripping tight to the tracks.

I’m coal and whine and wine,

and a loving cup of cheap warm beer.

I’m ashes glittering in the laughing moonlight.


I’m delta blues at 3 a.m.

I’m a B25 and your shape is painted on my fuselage.


I’m Jet-A and a flat spin,

the explosion in a pasture,

the smoke rising,

the cows lifting their stupid heads to stare.


I’m letting go and holding tight. I’m animal pain.


I’m screaming in.

I’m destined to burn. Recover me.


Jay McClendon spent the past two decades living in the shadow of Dulles International Airport, among other things. By day, he's a medical writer in health informatics for a Fortune 20 company. He's currently splitting his time between Charlottesville, Virginia, and Birmingham, Alabama, where he was born and raised.