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Huntington Beach Air Show
Alexandra Umlas


Punched up—the plane, pushed, rockets into sky,
engine rotating, coughs to catch on air.
The roar cuts off and sinks into a sigh
to mark the stall before the spiral stair
spin, wings careening down into the glisten
of salt, spectators stand and suck their breath
back in, no gravity, no noise. Listen
to the waves laugh until he makes the death-
defying turn, unfurling the metal straight
across the gleaming ocean like a sail
that’s leapt right off the boat, its only fate
to fly. The crowd, still waiting to exhale,
yearns for relief, and on firm sand below,
a seagull, in disbelief, stares at the show.

From At the Table of the Unknown (Moon Tide Press, 2019).
Used here with permission.


Alexandra Umlas lives in Huntington Beach, CA with her husband and two daughters, who inspire much of her writing. She loves teaching, reading, and taking road trips. Alexandra's first collection of poetry, At the Table of the Unknown, was recently published by Moon Tide Press. Learn more about her at









Post New Comment:
Takes us right there. Fantastic!
Posted 09/27/2019 06:27 PM
Glen Sorestad:
Now that is a very sly sonnet, Alexandra. And a very effective one at that. Superbly done. I didn't recognize the form until my second reading.
Posted 09/27/2019 12:08 PM
Wonderful poem by a wonderful poet.
Posted 09/27/2019 10:51 AM
Vivid. I felt I was in the crowd with you. Still waiting to exhale.
Posted 09/27/2019 10:25 AM
Great images and details!
Posted 09/27/2019 09:31 AM
When I was in training to be a Navy pilot, I remember the stall, as Alexandra paints it here, as completely breathtaking. The plane loses its lift, leaving the pilot to wrest the plane back from freefall.
Posted 09/27/2019 08:46 AM

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