American Life in Poetry: Column 211


Some of you are so accustomed to flying that you no longer sit by the windows. But I'd guess that at one time you gazed down, after dark, and looked at the lights below you with innocent wonder. This poem by Anne Marie Macari of New Jersey perfectly captures the gauziness of those lights as well as the loneliness that often accompanies travel.

From the Plane

It is a soft thing, it has been sifted   
from the sieve of space and seems   
asleep there under the moths of light.   

Cluster of dust and fire, from up here   
you are a stranger and I am dropping   
through the funnel of air to meet you.

We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2008 by Anne Marie Macari and reprinted from "She Heads into the Wilderness," Autumn House Press, 2008, by permission of Anne Marie Macari. Introduction copyright © 2020 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.