Washington, D.C. District Lines Volume III

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The celebrated bookstore Politics and Prose in Washington,D.C. periodically publishes a collection entitled "District Lines" featuring writing about life in the Nation's capital.

My piece called Flight Pattern: Zackary appears in the January 2016 edition.

You can read it here:

Flight Pattern: Zackary

All during recess, while the other kids perfected

their drop kicks or chased each other through the

climber, the quiet boy simply sat on a swing and

watched the sky, waiting for the stirring and

suck of air as another jet, inbound for Reagan,

glided over the school playground.

Sometimes a teacher said, “Why aren’t you

running around?” or “Get some exercise, Zack.”

So the boy would get off the swing and wander

across the grass, but he’d never stop looking up.

The planes were part of his day. Like the turtle

in the science room. Like the kind lady who

directed the carpool line.

He read the airline names aloud to himself. Then

he followed with his head, as the jets, one by

one, swallowed the space above MacArthur

Boulevard, and eased down the

Potomac like geese heading south.

He sometimes traveled with his family,

wedged next to the window, his ears cottony-

thick, his mouth dry as a pretzel, going off to

grandma’s or holiday, itchy with anticipation.

But being inside and seat-belted, it wasn’t the

same. He couldn’t take in the whole bird, the

grace of its beak, the determination of its roar.

Here, out on the playground, he liked to imagine

the jets as pterodactyls, wider than a soccer

field, larger than third grade itself.

He wished that the creatures could dip down

and let him ride on their silver backs,

bronco style, his tee-shirt flapping, his hair

blowing and turbulent, his face visibly brave.

He envisioned the city below him like

a puzzle on a table, the toy cars crossing

the Key Bridge, his classmates and teachers

rooted to the ground, not even knowing he was