Nathanael O’Reilly



Return Flight


Tired sunburned passengers

flying home from vacations


puzzle over Sudoku and crosswords

doze against strangers’ shoulders


read thrillers and airline magazines

grudgingly answer email on laptops


watch Game of Thrones on iPads

draw pictures of Harry Potter characters


pray that the big guy doesn’t recline

snack on mini pretzels


sip coffee and orange juice

retract elbows, shoulders and feet


to evade the drinks cart

and wide-hipped passengers


charging down the aisle

doze off with nodding heads


startle themselves awake with snorts

escort kids to the toilets


curse the airline for lack of legroom

and exorbitant alcohol prices


scroll through photos on phones

searching for elusive images


capturing the happiest, most exciting

and beautiful moments


editing the decent and deleting the crap

like revisionist historians




Nathanael O’Reilly is an Australian residing in Texas. His books include Preparations for Departure, Distance, Cult, Suburban Exile and Symptoms of Homesickness. His poetry has been published in journals and anthologies from nine countries, including Antipodes, Cordite, Glasgow Review of Books, Mascara, Postcolonial Text, Tincture and Verity La.

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