National Poetry Month Day 30: “The Museum of Flight” by Kazim Ali

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The Museum of Flight

All boys want to fall
Sent like sun-thunder westward

Sense-sure and censured they twist
out of the wings fastened to their backs

itching always for more blue
suspended endlessly in space at the moment of fall

Here in the sky ward
you can count them:

Lightning-struck or hurled from heaven
Panicked or resigned,

But all heading in the blue direction,
their fathers always at a loss for words.

Here is the disobedient one who willfully jumped

And here the wild one who raced for the sun

Here is the stupid one who lost control of the horses

And here the frightened one who stowed away
on the silver boat bound for the storm.

They all raced away from rules like sea-drunk criminals
hopelessly confused about the laws of men and gods

caught by gravity, unspooling like bolts of silk across the sky
chattering on and on about infinity and eternity

the whole way down.

-Kazim Ali

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Kazim Ali is a poet, essayist, fiction writer and translator.

His books include several volumes of poetry, including Sky Ward (Wesleyan University Press, 2013), The Far Mosque, winner of Alice James Books’ New England/New York Award, The Fortieth Day (BOA Editions, 2008), and the cross-genre text Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities (Wesleyan University Press, 2009).

He is an associate professor of Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Oberlin College and teaches in the Masters of Fine Arts program of the University of Southern Maine.


From time to time, The Rumpus publishes new poems. Check out this multimedia collection of poetry we've published. More from this author →