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Laura Joyce-Hubbard

The ground is angled, darkened / by fireball.

For Kim

The plane has expanded.

Like glass dropped from a height

onto concrete.

A scalene triangle sits atop a stretch

of black-scarred earth. The remains:

tip of tail. Hint of fuselage.

Like grains of rice, fragments litter

the burnt terrain. Fused metal, alloy parts.

The ground is angled, darkened

by fireball. The impact path reaches

out of the frame entirely. A pyre—

long as a comet’s tail.

My eye is drawn from the empennage

to three huddled figures standing

outside the burn’s wide berth

as if standing alongside a horse track.

The men appear frozen in miniature,

stunned at the magnitude: how 132 feet

of wings can leave an impact as long

as a desert mirage on a West Texas horizon.

They won’t be able to account for it all.

The smallest remnants are wedged

into vein-thin crevices, lodged

into lodgepole, bentgrass, and bulrush:


✽ ✽ ✽

Laura Joyce-Hubbard’s nonfiction and poetry appear or are forthcoming in The Iowa Review, Poetry, The Sewanee Review, Ninth Letter, Pleiades, Creative Nonfiction, Boulevard, River Teeth, Tupelo Quarterly, the anthology, Wanting: Women Writing About Desire (Catapult, 2023), and elsewhere. Recent awards include winner of The Iowa Review’s 2022 Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans, winner of the 2021 Ned Stuckey-French Nonfiction Contest at Southeast Review, runner-up of the 2021 Poetry Contest at The Sewanee Review, and winner of the 2020 Essay Prize in the William Faulkner Pirates' Alley Writing Competition. Her nonfiction was selected as a “Notable” in the Best American Essays 2022. She is a veteran of the US Air Force where she flew C-130s. Laura is a fiction editor for TriQuarterly.

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