ryan quinn flanagan | air traffic controllers

Air Traffic Controllers

Some find salvation in acorns
or automobiles,
others jump rope in the street,
for Mike and I
it was air traffic control.

On agreed days
at agreed upon times,
we would meet at the park
in bright orange shirts
and take turns.

One of us
would gather large sticks
that had fallen from the trees
in the park
and stand at one side of the field
while the other one
walked down to the other end
of the field.

Then the one without the sticks
would run into the middle
of a flock of settled geese
waving his arms wildly
and yelling.

The startled geese would fly up
into the air
and start circling.

Whoever had the sticks
at the other end of the field
started waving the sticks
in patterns,
pretending to be controlling
the flight of the

When the geese finally began to settle
on the ground
the air traffic controller sticks
would switch hands
and the pattern would be

This went on for hours,
the geese were stubborn
and would not fly

We were stubborn as well,
and had nowhere to be
until dinner.

When it started to get dark,
we put down the sticks
and began the long trek

Proud to be air traffic controllers
in V-neck orange,
covered in bird shit
(head to
with much explaining to do
when we got

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