a pilot ascending past 30,000 feet

breaks through the last layer of cloud

her pupils contract when the sun strikes her eyes

sunglasses on, her face glowing

in warm sunlight

3 hours later, 1500 miles away on final approach

descending down through the last layer of cloud

sunglasses off, her face glowing

in instrument lights

the rain blowing by the windshield

the dark green ground coming

up to her

and the meaning of what he had said suddenly striking her 


the captain stands in the bridge

swaying with his fully loaded container ship

tied up at port, unable to offload

as 45 knot winds churn up 8 foot waves in the harbor

each wave pushing the ship against the concrete berth

demurrage deadlines coming

up to him

and his memory of what happened that day 40 years ago unmovable


thoughts like sun light striking your eyes the moment you understand

thoughts like intermodal containers you can’t unload

but we are thought lungs, breathing thoughts

thoughts that come and go with each breath

each breath in and out and the pilot’s hands calm and steady

each breath in and out and the captain’s burdens lifted up and set down