Katharine Whitcomb

When Traveling in Airplanes I Always Think of God

especially circling a city before landing at night
when the streetlamps spray the invisible avenues with blown golden seeds.

I think of God when the police shoot

King Kong on the tiny screen three rows ahead of me.

I think of God in the spring because everything

finally breaks open.

I think of God when I start awake after re-dreaming a crash against the mountain.

And who have I become? A captive watching them kill the beast?

When we were a little higher up illuminated by our wing lights

the clouds looked solid and edible like God’s big cake.

Once upon a time I thought I heard words meant for me.

I believed I could teach people just by living my life but then I got so tired.


Katharine Whitcomb is the author of a collection of poems, Saints of South Dakota & Other Poems, which was chosen by Lucia Perillo as the winner of the 2000 Bluestem Award and published by Bluestem Press, and two poetry chapbooks. Hosannas (Parallel Press, 1999) and Lamp of Letters (Floating Bridge Press, 2009), winner of the 2009 Floating Bridge Chapbook Award. Her poetry awards include a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, a Loft-McKnight Award, a Writing Fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and a Halls Fellowship at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. She has had work published in many journals and anthologies, including Fire on Her Tongue, Making Poems, and Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos. She lives in Ellensburg, WA, where she is Coordinator of the Writing Specialization English Major at Central Washington University.