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September 2017, vol 13 no 3

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Cynthia Rowe


The seats are narrow, the aisle narrow, the cabin narrow. The airliner screams off down the runway, on and on and on before finally lifting off. The aisle rears up and we climb ever higher, bucking and slewing. Our conversation is consumed by the roar; the plane shakes and I notice the sky is dark blue, like nothing I have seen before. Mach 1 flashes on the screen. We have broken the sound barrier but I hear no bang, no explosion. The aircraft's nose continues to slice through the atmosphere. Mach 2 flashes on the screen. We are now travelling at twice the speed of sound. Through the porthole I note that the earth's surface has become curved. “Our planet really is round!” I say, but you are unable to hear me.

the magpie chick
learning to fly

Note: Previously published in Presence #47, 2012.