Black Petals Issue #95 Spring, 2021

The Definition of Crash
BP Editorial Page
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Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Blue Meet-Fiction by George Aitch
Dark Alleyways-Fiction by Adam Phillips
Iris' Vanity-Fiction by Tristan Miller
Scalp Cleanse-Fiction by Kajetan Kwiatkowski
The Muscus-Fiction by Alice Stone
The Wrong Place-Fiction by Ante Caleta
Things That Happen-Fiction by Guido Eekhaut
Tidal Horror-Fiction by Sal Braden
Two Martinis In-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Vampire-Fiction by Gene Lass
Hypnic Jerk-Flash Fiction by Vismay Harani
Speed Dating-Flash Fiction by Alexander Condie
Step Out-Flash Fiction by Ed Nobody
The Packing Bay-Flash Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Trophy Kill-Flash Fiction by Eddie D. Moore
Occupational Hazard-Flash Fiction by Doug Hawley
The Definition of Crash-Poems by Paul David Adkins
Ghost: A Working Definition-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Vampiric Threnody-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Leelanau Lake Monster-Poems by Richard Stevenson
Ballast-2 Poems by Angelo Letizia
Pit Bull-3 Poems by Pete Mladinic
Shadow of Sleep-Poem by Teresa Ann Frazee
Microcosmus-3 Poems by Daniel Snethen
The Higher Dimensions-Poem by David C. Kopaska- Merkel

Rumination on Disappeared Malaysian Air Flight MH370:

The Definition of Crash



Paul David Adkins


Airlines like to call these crashes


not catastrophes, disasters, mishaps, calamities.

A tragedy focuses on suffering,

not damage.


And who doesn’t want to seem sympathetic

to the milling families, friends

herded into what might be called

a “tragedy room”

to hear the flight has disappeared.


Suddenly, the infinitive “to disappear”

assumes great significance,

importance, meaning, consequence, implication:

What goes up, must come down, etcetera.


To disappear is not “to live” and not “to die.”


It is the flight unfinished,

the flight dissolved on its pathways of air.


Rumination on Disappeared Malaysian Air Flight MH370:

Ghost Plane MH370 Signals that an Attempt Has Been Made

to Access the Inflight Entertainment System


By two-twenty-six-and-thirty-seconds a.m., hypoxia

had wilted every neck.


The shades drawn,

food carts locked,

coffee cold in metal pots.


Atop the arched ceiling of the soaring sarcophagus –

No Exit.


Not a shimmer, not a gleam,

not a snore, not a sneeze, not a cough, until,

on 36B,

blue spray of screenlight

illumined the half-open eye,

lolling tongue of a Chinese businessman:


theme of 20th Century Fox

choked to a ten-minute dirge.


Rumination on Disappeared Malaysian Air Flight MH370:

The Last Transmitted Words of Captain Shah


All right, good night.


And that was it:  no further squelch,

no mayday call, no SOS, no answering

the onboard phone

though it rang and rang and lit

the lightless cockpit red,

revealing the corpses with its languid strobe

which stained the gray smoke pink to black

to pink again, and black.


But, those are nice

for last words:


All right, good night.


Nice and tight

as a snapped eyelid,

pursed set of lips,

239 brains unlearning to breathe.


It takes a minute.


My own wife kissed our kids:


          All right, good night.

          Don’t let the bedbugs bite.


There was something to fear,

and the love to overcome it.


There was something to sink into the mattress


while the children nestled beneath the starless ceiling,

and the fan kept eye with its knives.


Paul David Adkins earned an MFA from Washington University. In 2018, Lit Riot published his collection Dispatches from the FOB. Journal publications include Pleiades, River Styx, Rattle, and Diode. He has received one Best of the Net and six Pushcart nominations and the 2019 Central NY Book Award for Poetry.

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