A Letter to a Pilot
San Jose, CA
Archbishop Mitty High School
I want to fly,
But I cannot find my wings.
“before we began”
there were new wings
riddled with red and white
flapping and reaching for
“ready for departure”
ready for a high screech ringing out
my words garbled in the deafening
wind that twists them.
and twists those wings
a rumble reverberating in its wake.
to prepare for seeing the world’s beauty but all i see
are dots of what could be bigger
facts and numbers and
tell one tale
but the face that lands into my shattered thoughts
“prepare for descent”
to see a smeared face in blackness
my throat burning with unquenched flames from food
that slides chillingly into my throat
the smell striking at every part of me with needle sharpness
chokes and gags and glues my lips.
“we are approaching”
hands are almost touching
stomach caving and folding
i struggle but i am ordered to seal my mouth
with a brown, flimsy, four-letter-labeled bag
too shallow to contain the dripping, tangled wail
threatening to burst out of me.
“we will soon arrive”
at my reflection where i see eyes too dry and
i close them
yet droplets slide from tiny slits
leaving a trail of dizzying blue vapor
settling into me until my breath
is caught into my throat and
where is the water coming from?
So dear pilot,
I really do want to fly,
But the wings that you have given me have stripped away my own.
Letter to a Pilot was first published in The Foredge Review
Nostalgic, mournful, beautiful. Packed with profound symbolism and brilliant slant rhymes, the piece pleads to be read over and over again.
Jessica Hsu is a senior at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, California, graduating in 2021. She loves writing poetry and edits for her school’s literary magazine. When she’s not writing, reading YA novels, or watching movies, she’s most likely playing the flute or competing in speech and debate.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR