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Hover

Hover

Over the runway, the Fairey Swordfish hovers,
the pilot shrunk to a dot. Propellers
churn the heat, sting our ears.

It stays up there by some collective will,
and if we stare long enough
the engine won't sputter into silence,

we won't freeze, like extras in a wartime film,
as it unravels through slow seconds,
lurching towards us. We won't

gather our kids, cover their heads
as the fuselage splits open,
sends fire singing through the crowd,

whose skin chars, peels and flutters off,
like papers on fortune cookies.
These things won't happen. The Swordfish

will stay suspended in the present.
Its shadow will darken each of us
for a moment, and we will keep it

far enough above us
so the pilot remains a god,
his engine running, his face invisible.


from The Butcher's Hands (Smith Doorstop, 2003), © Catherine Smith 2003, used by permission of the author and The Poetry Business.

Recordings

Catherine Smith Reading from her poems

1How It All Started

2Losing it to David Cassidy

3Back

4The Fathers

5The Ewe

6The Set of Optics You Wouldn't Let Me Buy in Portobello Road Market, September, 1984

7Heckmondwike

8Blue Egg

9Simulacrum

10The Biting Point

11Snakebite

12Smoking and Reading Nietzsche in the Kardomah

13Ascension

14Baptism

15Cut

16Colin Pepper I Luv U

17Original Residents

18Sleep

19The New Bride

20Australia

21Calculation

22Cast

23Feral

24Hover

25Fontanelle

26Night

27Marcus

28Postulant

29Nectar

30Twin

31What's Required After a Day Teaching Poetry to Nine Year Olds

32Doors

33With Love, and the Date

34Prayers

35The World is Ending Pass the Vodka

Books & cds by Catherine Smith